Tarragon Tagliatelle with Sea Urchin Butter

Tarragon Tagliatelle with Uni Butter

Being the carb fiend that I am, I love pasta. Being Japanese, I love uni . As I was mulling over what to make for dinner around 5:30 pm tonight, I stared into my nearly empty fridge, wondering what I could do with a flat of gorgeous uni that was staring back at me from its perch on the middle shelf.

Looking through the vegetable drawer, I turned up a bunch of tarragon and started wondering what it might taste like with the creamy sweet uni. Pasta seemed like a natural accompaniment and I thought about a simple olive oil preparation with chopped up tarragon, but the color palette was starting to sound like the skate from the other night.

Flat of Uni

I also wondered if the delicate flavour of the sea urchin might get overwhelmed by a late addition of fresh tarragon. After I’d already made the dough for the pasta, it occurred to me that I could infuse the pasta with tarragon flavour. Naturally, I sharpened my knife and starting mincing up some tarragon so I could incorporate it into the dough. A few minutes and a lot of kneading later, I had a green speckled dough that smelled of olive oil and tarragon.

For the sauce, I decided to blend some of the uni straight into it so it could coat every strand of tagliatelle. To add a bit more depth I reduced some chicken stock and added scallions at the end. The sauce was thick and creamy with a pleasant brininess, but it needed some highlights, so in went a squeeze of lemon juice.

Uni with Tarragon Tagliatelle

The finished dish? Long strands of fragrant tagliatelle enrobed with the briny essence of the sea, accompanied by little bits of sweet raw uni that burst in your mouth with each bite of the chewy noodles.

for pasta
1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C semolina flour
1 Tbs tarragon finely minced
1 egg
1 tsp olive oil
water

sea urchin butter
100 g shelled uni (sea urchin)
3 Tbs butter melted and cooled to room temperature
1 C chicken stock
2 scallions julienned
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice

To make the pasta, put the 2 flours in a wide shallow bowl and mix in the tarragon to combine. Make a well in the center and add the egg and olive oil. Stir together with a fork until the liquid is absorbed by the flour and it starts to come together. Start kneading it with your hands, adding water as needed to make the dough come together. After kneading for a while, if the dough is still sticky, add more flour. If the dough crumbles apart easily add more water. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is very elastic.

Roll out and cut the pasta according to your pasta maker’s directions. Boil a large pot of salted water along with a small handful of tarragon. Add the pasta and cook removing a noodle to test every few minutes until it is al dente.

Put the butter and half of the sea urchin in the workbowl of a small food processor and blitz until smooth. Boil the chicken stock until reduced by half. Add the scallions and turn down the heat to low. Squeeze a little lemon juice into the stock. Whisk the butter/urchin mixture into the stock stirring constantly until you are ready to serve.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve immediately topped with the remaining raw uni.

  • Pingback: Uni | [ No Recipes ] Ingredients

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ chef E

    My hubby and I are looking at that dish and all we can think of is Wow, I want to make that, but not sure we can get Uni in NJ, maybe NYC.

    • marc

      Actually NJ has a HUGE Japanese supermarket called Mitsuwa in Edgewater that I usually go to for my Japanese groceries.

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com chef E

    My hubby and I are looking at that dish and all we can think of is Wow, I want to make that, but not sure we can get Uni in NJ, maybe NYC.

    • marc

      Actually NJ has a HUGE Japanese supermarket called Mitsuwa in Edgewater that I usually go to for my Japanese groceries.

  • http://constableslarder.blogspot.com/ Giff

    I’ve heard that Mitsuwa is amazing. You know, I’ve never had a more violent (negative) reaction to a food type than to sea urchin sushi, but I was in my teens. Wonder if it is time to try it again, as taste buds change over time.

    • marc

      I used to dislike it too. Honestly I’m still not a huge fan of eating it alone, but I like it with rice on sushi or in pasta like this. If you want to try it again, try steaming it with salt and sake. It’s a nice way to enjoy the sweetness and flavour without the odd texture.

  • http://constableslarder.blogspot.com Giff

    I’ve heard that Mitsuwa is amazing. You know, I’ve never had a more violent (negative) reaction to a food type than to sea urchin sushi, but I was in my teens. Wonder if it is time to try it again, as taste buds change over time.

    • marc

      I used to dislike it too. Honestly I’m still not a huge fan of eating it alone, but I like it with rice on sushi or in pasta like this. If you want to try it again, try steaming it with salt and sake. It’s a nice way to enjoy the sweetness and flavour without the odd texture.

  • amy

    One word: YAY!

  • amy

    One word: YAY!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ chef E

    Thanks Marc, you reminded me of the Wall of China market off route 27, so I will go and hunt. I have some rare green rice from a Provence in china I will use for this!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com chef E

    Thanks Marc, you reminded me of the Wall of China market off route 27, so I will go and hunt. I have some rare green rice from a Provence in china I will use for this!

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ Elra

    I never tasted uni before … but, the tarragon tagliatelle sounds really good. Did I ever mentioned hat tarragon is my favorite herb?
    Cheers,
    elra

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com Elra

    I never tasted uni before … but, the tarragon tagliatelle sounds really good. Did I ever mentioned hat tarragon is my favorite herb?
    Cheers,
    elra

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com/ Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella

    How fabulously upmarket! I just chuckled because we call college “uni” (as in university) here in Australia and it took me a few second to realise that you meant the other uni! :P

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella

    How fabulously upmarket! I just chuckled because we call college “uni” (as in university) here in Australia and it took me a few second to realise that you meant the other uni! :P

  • http://recipespicbypic.blogspot.com/ Nuria

    Marc…. your pasta dish is painfully delightful!!!!! AAaaahhhh you got me craving for some… what a wonderful combo of ingredients :D

  • http://recipespicbypic.blogspot.com Nuria

    Marc…. your pasta dish is painfully delightful!!!!! AAaaahhhh you got me craving for some… what a wonderful combo of ingredients :D

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    Sounds fantastic, and your tagliatelle looks divine.

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    Sounds fantastic, and your tagliatelle looks divine.

  • R Moon

    I just linked to this website. It looks good, but the name is rather deceiving, No Recipes, and then proceeds to give recipes for the meals??? Anyway, the uni and pasta looks interesting.

    • marc

      Good question! I started this blog because friends would always ask for recipes and I never had any to give because I didn’t use them, so the name is more about me not cooking with recipes. I also try to encourage everyone to us my recipe more as a guideline than something set in stone.

  • R Moon

    I just linked to this website. It looks good, but the name is rather deceiving, No Recipes, and then proceeds to give recipes for the meals??? Anyway, the uni and pasta looks interesting.

    • marc

      Good question! I started this blog because friends would always ask for recipes and I never had any to give because I didn’t use them, so the name is more about me not cooking with recipes. I also try to encourage everyone to us my recipe more as a guideline than something set in stone.

  • http://LarkLoganSellsRichmond.com/ Lark Logan

    Greetings Marc: I found you blog while reading an article about Gen X and the trials they are facing with this economic situation. I love to cook and was curious about your blog and am glad I checked it out.

    I love uni but prefer it with rice on sushi. This recipe looks so inviting and the photo, even more so. I wish I were at your home for that dinner!

    I’m bookmarking this site and will visit often. You need to be on the Food Network :-)

    Best to you!

  • http://LarkLoganSellsRichmond.com Lark Logan

    Greetings Marc: I found you blog while reading an article about Gen X and the trials they are facing with this economic situation. I love to cook and was curious about your blog and am glad I checked it out.

    I love uni but prefer it with rice on sushi. This recipe looks so inviting and the photo, even more so. I wish I were at your home for that dinner!

    I’m bookmarking this site and will visit often. You need to be on the Food Network :-)

    Best to you!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/ Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    The Sea Urchin Butter sounds fantastic and it must be so wonderful with the tagliatelle. I would love to try this dish!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    The Sea Urchin Butter sounds fantastic and it must be so wonderful with the tagliatelle. I would love to try this dish!

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    Lovely post, Marc–I do so enjoy your style of upscale-make-do-with-what’s-in-the-fridge cooking. It is really inspiring. And it is very generous of you to let us see your thought process. I love how your mind works:)

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com Jenni

    Lovely post, Marc–I do so enjoy your style of upscale-make-do-with-what’s-in-the-fridge cooking. It is really inspiring. And it is very generous of you to let us see your thought process. I love how your mind works:)

  • Karen

    Yummy! Your recipes look so good! I hope I can try some of them out soon. I too read read the article on Gen X. It looks like you would be very good at being a food writer. Got your page bookmarked and will certainly check back often. Good luck!

  • Karen

    Yummy! Your recipes look so good! I hope I can try some of them out soon. I too read read the article on Gen X. It looks like you would be very good at being a food writer. Got your page bookmarked and will certainly check back often. Good luck!

  • http://janetching.wordpress.com/ Janet

    Hi Marc, I am a big fan of Sea Urchin, Uni! Yummy yummy! i have to try your recipe one day. just a little tricky to buy them in Switzerland. Have to try it otherwise when i am in Hong Kong one day.

  • http://janetching.wordpress.com Janet

    Hi Marc, I am a big fan of Sea Urchin, Uni! Yummy yummy! i have to try your recipe one day. just a little tricky to buy them in Switzerland. Have to try it otherwise when i am in Hong Kong one day.

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com/ claudia (cook eat FRET)

    marc, your food is OVER THE TOP. this is a killer looking dish. i mean – i would order this up in any restaurant. super impressive. a home run in my book.

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com claudia (cook eat FRET)

    marc, your food is OVER THE TOP. this is a killer looking dish. i mean – i would order this up in any restaurant. super impressive. a home run in my book.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

    really beautiful. butter and brininess = big smile. i can see this working really well together. uni definitely has a strong (delicious, to me!) flavor that not everyone loves but even those who don’t love it would prob. dig this if it’s mixed w/ butter.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    really beautiful. butter and brininess = big smile. i can see this working really well together. uni definitely has a strong (delicious, to me!) flavor that not everyone loves but even those who don’t love it would prob. dig this if it’s mixed w/ butter.

  • Crystal

    I also stumbled upon your blog from the GenX article today. I love cooking and cooking related blogs so I figured that I’d check your site out. Usually, I haunt the Once a Month/Freezer Cooking type of sites in an effort for more frugal living, but this site is truly a bright spot in such a dull and dismal economic environment.

    I’m so glad that I visited. I have now added it to my “must view” morning tabs. So I won’t miss what’s up next in this great culinary adventure. I will be back often.

    You have a knack for this. I love the great food pics and thoughtfully written blog entries. I definitely think you’ll go far making the leap to this creative endeavor. It’s great that you’re taking a passion and making it more than a pastime. This site is made of awesome and you’re doing an excellent job with it.

  • Crystal

    I also stumbled upon your blog from the GenX article today. I love cooking and cooking related blogs so I figured that I’d check your site out. Usually, I haunt the Once a Month/Freezer Cooking type of sites in an effort for more frugal living, but this site is truly a bright spot in such a dull and dismal economic environment.

    I’m so glad that I visited. I have now added it to my “must view” morning tabs. So I won’t miss what’s up next in this great culinary adventure. I will be back often.

    You have a knack for this. I love the great food pics and thoughtfully written blog entries. I definitely think you’ll go far making the leap to this creative endeavor. It’s great that you’re taking a passion and making it more than a pastime. This site is made of awesome and you’re doing an excellent job with it.

  • Udom

    Yo Marc, I stumbled upon your blog because an article on MSNBC mentioned it. What a pleasant surprise since I am big fan of Uni and you have a recipe for it! I try to have Uni at least once a week at a local sushi place here in Stamford, CT, but every time I go to LA (which is a few times a year), I always try to go to Spoon House in Gardena. They have a spaghetti dish with uni, squid, and cod roe which is absolutely great. Reading your latest blog entry reminds me of that dish…Did you say you get your uni’s from Mitsuwa? How long can you keep them in the fridge before they become bad?

    Hey keep up the good work!

  • Udom

    Yo Marc, I stumbled upon your blog because an article on MSNBC mentioned it. What a pleasant surprise since I am big fan of Uni and you have a recipe for it! I try to have Uni at least once a week at a local sushi place here in Stamford, CT, but every time I go to LA (which is a few times a year), I always try to go to Spoon House in Gardena. They have a spaghetti dish with uni, squid, and cod roe which is absolutely great. Reading your latest blog entry reminds me of that dish…Did you say you get your uni’s from Mitsuwa? How long can you keep them in the fridge before they become bad?

    Hey keep up the good work!

  • http://tokyoastrogirl.blogspot.com/ tokyoastrogirl

    Marc, I just found your blog via my mom (she emailed it to me after seeing the MSN article) and wow! Uni pasta….pork cheek ragu…..you’ve won me over already. I can’t wait to get home and sit with a glass (or three) of wine and sift through your beautiful photos and posts.

    Ja ne!

  • http://tokyoastrogirl.blogspot.com/ tokyoastrogirl

    Marc, I just found your blog via my mom (she emailed it to me after seeing the MSN article) and wow! Uni pasta….pork cheek ragu…..you’ve won me over already. I can’t wait to get home and sit with a glass (or three) of wine and sift through your beautiful photos and posts.

    Ja ne!

  • http://janetching.wordpress.com/ Janet

    Hi Marc, are you going to post your press presence in MSNBC and share with those outside US? You are getting popular, on the way to your cookbook???

  • http://janetching.wordpress.com Janet

    Hi Marc, are you going to post your press presence in MSNBC and share with those outside US? You are getting popular, on the way to your cookbook???

  • Jackie

    Saw your article on MSN.com, good deal!! Good luck :))

  • Jackie

    Saw your article on MSN.com, good deal!! Good luck :))

  • http://victorencinas.com/ Victor Encinas

    Hey Marc,

    Great spot on MSN.com. I will be following you. I love your story, especially the part about doing what you are passionate about. I coach individuals to seek the work they love rather than do a job they hate. You are a great example in many ways…keep up the good work.

    Victory and Success to you!
    victor

  • http://victorencinas.com Victor Encinas

    Hey Marc,

    Great spot on MSN.com. I will be following you. I love your story, especially the part about doing what you are passionate about. I coach individuals to seek the work they love rather than do a job they hate. You are a great example in many ways…keep up the good work.

    Victory and Success to you!
    victor

  • http://janetching.wordpress.com/ Janet

    Hi Marc, it’s me again, sorry I now managed to read the post by searching Marc, haha! Best of luck of whatever you persue! You are so creative!!!

  • Margot

    LOL! I was going to give you a “harumph” for making me crave uni and to have to stop by Mitsuwa on the way home and you have already been talking about that place :D This sounds fabulous! I too came here via msnbc and I’m glad! Between you and Anthony Bourdain I’m going to be thinking about great food morning, noon and night! Best of luck on the job front, and I’ll be back for sure!

  • http://janetching.wordpress.com Janet

    Hi Marc, it’s me again, sorry I now managed to read the post by searching Marc, haha! Best of luck of whatever you persue! You are so creative!!!

  • Margot

    LOL! I was going to give you a “harumph” for making me crave uni and to have to stop by Mitsuwa on the way home and you have already been talking about that place :D This sounds fabulous! I too came here via msnbc and I’m glad! Between you and Anthony Bourdain I’m going to be thinking about great food morning, noon and night! Best of luck on the job front, and I’ll be back for sure!

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/2009/03/uni-exotica-uncut.html katiek

    UMMMMM, I just published a post about uni pasta and then I found this post! CRAZY!!!!!

    I also no recipe-d it! I got fresh uni form the farmer’s market. Apparently japanese uni is treated with a chemical that makes it shrink up to the smaller size.

    I used my uni for japanese style steamed egg and Unicream pasta with cauliflower bread crumbs, where I blended it into the sauce. This is ssssoooo crazy!

    Great minds think alike!

    Oh, and this is my first time at the sit. Looks awesome!

    if you have any interest:
    http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/2009/03/uni-perched-atop-steamed-egg.html

    http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/2009/03/testkitchensidecar-following-taste-to.html

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/2009/03/uni-exotica-uncut.html katiek

    UMMMMM, I just published a post about uni pasta and then I found this post! CRAZY!!!!!

    I also no recipe-d it! I got fresh uni form the farmer’s market. Apparently japanese uni is treated with a chemical that makes it shrink up to the smaller size.

    I used my uni for japanese style steamed egg and Unicream pasta with cauliflower bread crumbs, where I blended it into the sauce. This is ssssoooo crazy!

    Great minds think alike!

    Oh, and this is my first time at the sit. Looks awesome!

    if you have any interest:
    http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/2009/03/uni-perched-atop-steamed-egg.html

    http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/2009/03/testkitchensidecar-following-taste-to.html

  • http://www.practicallydone.com/ helen

    I am going to have to try this. My boyfriend doesn’t like uni, so I’ll have to finish this on my own (yipee!).

  • http://www.practicallydone.com helen

    I am going to have to try this. My boyfriend doesn’t like uni, so I’ll have to finish this on my own (yipee!).

  • http://thegreatleap4ward.blogspot.com/ Steven

    Hey Marc:

    I read the article in MSNBC.com and have my first visit to your blog. Your blog name reminds the name of my favorite brand -Muji. What is the Japanese word for no recipes? As a kid, I observed my mom and never had written down recipes. Well I am so used to following recipes this day now especially cooking Coq Au Vin or something pasta. Just do not have as good instinct yet as my Asian dishes.

    All the dishes are presented beautifully and very appetite stimulating. Good luck whatever your passion takes you

  • http://thegreatleap4ward.blogspot.com/ Steven

    Hey Marc:

    I read the article in MSNBC.com and have my first visit to your blog. Your blog name reminds the name of my favorite brand -Muji. What is the Japanese word for no recipes? As a kid, I observed my mom and never had written down recipes. Well I am so used to following recipes this day now especially cooking Coq Au Vin or something pasta. Just do not have as good instinct yet as my Asian dishes.

    All the dishes are presented beautifully and very appetite stimulating. Good luck whatever your passion takes you

  • http://www.diysanctuary.com/ Brigitte

    Stopped by for a read and a click after seeing the write up on your story at MSNBC.com. Really like the dinner and movie page! I’ve got a great pasta dish I will submit. Best of luck to ya man. It’s tough for a lot of us. Maybe there is a silver lining though. Instead of doing what we hate for the man, we can do what we love for ourselves.

  • http://www.diysanctuary.com Brigitte

    Stopped by for a read and a click after seeing the write up on your story at MSNBC.com. Really like the dinner and movie page! I’ve got a great pasta dish I will submit. Best of luck to ya man. It’s tough for a lot of us. Maybe there is a silver lining though. Instead of doing what we hate for the man, we can do what we love for ourselves.

  • http://etphonegemini.wordpress.com/ Eliza

    I saw an interview featuring you on msnbc website. Good luck on your job search. And kudos to you on following your passion. :) Maybe you can open an restaurant or something.

    Good Luck!

  • http://etphonegemini.wordpress.com/ Eliza

    I saw an interview featuring you on msnbc website. Good luck on your job search. And kudos to you on following your passion. :) Maybe you can open an restaurant or something.

    Good Luck!

  • http://passionateeater.blogspot.com/ Passionate Eater

    I too saw you on the MSNBC website and want to say that I am definitely inspired by your honesty and your pursuit of something you are truly passionate and excited about. Just as Eliza said, “Good luck!”

  • http://passionateeater.blogspot.com Passionate Eater

    I too saw you on the MSNBC website and want to say that I am definitely inspired by your honesty and your pursuit of something you are truly passionate and excited about. Just as Eliza said, “Good luck!”

  • http://joiedevivreanamateurgourmetsguide.blogspot.com/ Joie de vivre

    You amaze me with your creativity.

  • http://joiedevivreanamateurgourmetsguide.blogspot.com/ Joie de vivre

    You amaze me with your creativity.

  • http://www.veggiebelly.com/ veggiebelly

    read the msnbc article – you are very creative and talented and I hope your skills take you places. good luck!

  • http://www.veggiebelly.com veggiebelly

    read the msnbc article – you are very creative and talented and I hope your skills take you places. good luck!

  • http://sakura-lovebaking.blogspot.com/ sweetipie

    Your blog is interesting.cook without recipe is what i am looking for cuz i don’t like to use recipe.LOL

  • http://sakura-lovebaking.blogspot.com sweetipie

    Your blog is interesting.cook without recipe is what i am looking for cuz i don’t like to use recipe.LOL

  • http://chefsgonewild.blogspot.com/ Zenchef

    Did your blog exploded from too much traffic yet? lol.
    Marc, you should make pizza with the leftover Uni! hehe. I regretted i didn’t pack a slice to go. Cheers!

  • http://chefsgonewild.blogspot.com Zenchef

    Did your blog exploded from too much traffic yet? lol.
    Marc, you should make pizza with the leftover Uni! hehe. I regretted i didn’t pack a slice to go. Cheers!

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com/ pigpigscorner

    Love both ingredients but have never ever thought of pairing them…you always amaze me! Congrats on your appearance on MSNBC.com!

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com pigpigscorner

    Love both ingredients but have never ever thought of pairing them…you always amaze me! Congrats on your appearance on MSNBC.com!

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca/ Peter

    Mark, I adore sea urchin and I must ask the local Sushi resto where they get there supply. The combo with tarragon is a wonderful addition!

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca Peter

    Mark, I adore sea urchin and I must ask the local Sushi resto where they get there supply. The combo with tarragon is a wonderful addition!

  • Celina

    I love sea uni!!
    But I can’t find them anywhere beside in Japanese Restaurants in Vancouver/Burnaby/Coquitlam areas. Do you mind telling me where to buy fresh sea uni??
    Thanks.

  • Celina

    I love sea uni!!
    But I can’t find them anywhere beside in Japanese Restaurants in Vancouver/Burnaby/Coquitlam areas. Do you mind telling me where to buy fresh sea uni??
    Thanks.

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!