Saturday, July 28, 2012

【Lazy Bear's Recipes】Mentaiko Pasuta 明太子パスタ

This morning a friend asked me, "don't you think it's hard to find time to cook?" I do, but truth is, I can't eat out all the time anymore. Not that I don't enjoy going to restaurants and the company of family and friends over dinner, but usually after a few consecutive nights of eating out, my body will start to complain. I guess I'm getting old.

Last week I spent many late nights in the office and by the end of the week I was so sick and tired of eating takeouts I just couldn't take it anymore. I dragged my tired self to the grocery store just before closing and bought the ingredients to make a 30-minute meal.  My go-to recipe of late is the Mentaiko Pasuta 明太子パスタ, pasta with spicy cod roe.

And no, I didn't spell the word pasta wrong.  Pasuta (パスタ) is the Japanese spelling of the word and obviously this fusion dish is all about harmonizing Italian pastas with Japanese ingredients.  The best thing is that this dish is super easy to make, something that you can literally throw together in 30 minutes from start to finish, and if I'm really hungry that includes eating and cleaning up as well.

What's better than having hot, delicious homemade food after a long day of work?  Starting from this post, I am going to bring you a series of what I call the "Lazy Bear's Recipes", for all of you who also enjoy a little home cooked dinner, without having to slave in front of the stove for hours after a long day at work. I hope you like them. =)

Serves 4
Difficulty: Low

1 packet mentaiko (usually has 2 to 3 sacs)
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2.5 tablespoon Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise
1/4 cup of cream
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 sheet nori, cut into thin strips
6 leaves of green shiso, sliced very thin
170 grams sphaghetti pasta

1. Cook the pasta in salted water in a large pot according to the instructions on the package, usually about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cut each mentaiko sac in half and scrape out the roe from each into a mixing bowl, discarding the membrane.
3. Add melted butter, cream, mayo and black pepper to the bowl and mix well.
4. When the pasta is done, drain and add it to the mentaiko sauce.  Toss the pasta until every strand of it is coated with the sauce evenly.
5. Plate the pasta and sprinkle some nori and shiso strips over it.  Serve immediately.

See I told you? This is almost as easy as instant noodles!

Quick tip: Since this is the "Lazy Man's Recipe", I am going to share with you my quick trick of melting the butter.  Instead of using another saucepan or putting it in the microwave (by the way, Mrs. Bear does not own a microwave), put a pair of long chopsticks horizontally over the pasta pot and put the butter in a small bowl on top of the chopsticks while you're cooking the pasta.  The heat from the pot will melt the butter instantly!  This saves energy and saves you from washing another saucepan!

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