Bottarga, a salted, cured fish roe most commonly from grey mullet, is an island favourite. Usually it is just grated over a bowl of steaming spaghetti, but here I’ve combined it with garlicky, soft broccoli and crisp breadcrumbs to create a more mellow-tasting dish. You can buy fresh bottarga online and in some good Italian delis.
- 100g slightly stale ciabatta
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 335g (1 large head) broccoli
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 100g piece of fresh bottarga, grated
- 500g spaghetti
- Heat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/mark 4. Place the ciabatta in a food processor and pulse 4 or 5 times, until you have coarse breadcrumbs. Tip into a roasting tin and drizzle over 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the breadcrumbs are a golden-brown colour. Set aside.
- Cut off the broccoli stalk and sep- arate the heads into small florets. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the broccoli, bring back to the boil and cook for 3-4 minutes, until just tender. Drain, reserving 5-6 tablespoons of the cooking liquor.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan and, over a low heat, cook the garlic for 1 minute. Add the broccoli, the reserved cooking liquor, a little salt and freshly ground black pepper, and simmer for 5-6 minutes. The broccoli should have broken down into a coarse purée. Stir in about 2 tablespoons of the grated bottarga and cook for a further minute.
- Meanwhile, bring a very large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and cook for 8-12 minutes – check the packet cooking instructions – until it is al dente. Before draining, reserve a ladleful of the pasta water. Tip the drained spaghetti into the broccoli mixture and toss to coat the pasta in the sauce. Add a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. Stir in the remaining grated bottarga, toss the spaghetti and scatter over the breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.
To drink: The bottarga is softened here by other ingredients but still needs a crisp, lemony, dry white, rather than a broad, fruity one. Sancerre, Grüner Veltliner, Furmint and southern Italian whites, such as Greco and Sicily’s Grillo, all work: Grillo 2013, £6.99, Marks & Spencer. Wine details correct at original magazine publication date.