Saturday, August 7, 2010

Elba part 1 - Paccheri con vongole e bottarga di muggine (clams and salted fish roe)

Greetings from the lovely island of Elba!

Frati e sfogliatelle: a typical breakfast

View from our living room

 In the next days I will be taking you on a virtual tour of the island and its local foods. I will also post some step-by-step recipes of my mother in law, as promised.

This evening we had paccheri (a type of large maccheroni) with fresh vongole and bottarga di muggine, a delicacy in Italy and practically dried fish roe. It is grated and has a very salty flavor. If you are not a fish lover, you probably won't warm up to it that easily, but if you are one for the creatures of the sea, you will fall in love. It is like a taste of the Mediterranean, in all of its brininess. Bottarga is usually from tuna (typically Sicilian) or muggine (typically from Sardinia). Bottarga di muggine is more delicate in flavor and more expensive.

Ingredients (4/5 people)
1kg vongole with shells
1 bottarga di muggine
600gr paccheri
approx. 6 cherry tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
a handful of parsley
olive oil
a splash of white wine

Put the clams in a bowl of cold water to clean them. Let them sit for an hour or more and then rinse very well. Place them in pan and cook until they start opening, then take them out of their shells. You can also leave them in the shell, or take most of them out of their shells and leave some to garnish. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cover the bottom of a clean, large pan with olive oil and brown a few cloves of garlic. My mother in law kept the pieces pretty big and then took them out but you can chop it up if you like your daily dose. Throw in the clams and let them cook. Add the parsley. Then chop up the cherry tomatoes and throw them in. Add a splash of white wine. While the sauce is cooking, grate the fish roe. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce and then add in the bottarga. Add some fresh pepper and serve immediately with a glass of chilled white wine.


  1. I've never had pasta that shape but I've seen it in recipe books and it looks delicious! I also love creatures of the sea so I think that I'd really like this! :)

  2. De Cecco carries them here, so maybe you can find them there too. Let me know, if you don't I'd be happy to send you some!

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