Spaghetti with uni sauce and pancetta

I learned this recipe from my good friend Yuko who is an amazing chef (follow her on Instagram and Twitter). This recipe is sometimes called Japanese carbonara because of the rich buttery texture of the uni sauce. 

serves: 4        difficulty: easy      prep time: 15-20 min


  • 5-6 lobes of sashimi grade uni (which is the edible part of the sea urchin). You may recognize it from sushi restaurants. Ask your fish monger to open the sea urchin and remove the uni (i.e. don’t try to do it at home). Or some speciality stores sell the uni already removed.
  • 1 lbs spaghetti, preferably fresh
  • 2 tbs cream
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/2 lbs raw pancetta




In a small bowl mesh the uni with a wooden spoon until it forms a smooth paste – 2-3 min.


Add the cream, and stir. The sauce is (almost) ready!

Meanwhile, cut off the parts of the pancetta that are pure fat, and slice the pancetta into 1/8 inch cubes.


Heat a fry pan (no oil needed) and fry the pancetta the same way you would fry bacon.


Remove from the pan, and place the fried pancetta on napkins or paper towels to drain the excess fat.


Boil water in a large pot, and add 1 tbs salt. Once the water reaches rigorous boil, add the spaghetti and cook according to instructions. Drain the spaghetti but reserve 2 tbs of the cooking water.

Place the spaghetti in a large bowl, add the butter and mix well. Add the reserved cooking water to the uni sauce, and add the sauce to the bowl. Mix well again.

Plate the spaghetti, and top with some pancetta.


If you would like to keep the dish pescatarian, you can skip the pancetta, and instead top each plate with another 1-2 lobes of uni.


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