With spaghetti and spicy cod roe in a creamy sauce, this Mentaiko Pasta is a classic Japanese-Italian mashup that's as easy to make as it is delicous.

Mentaiko Pasta (明太子パスタ)

Mentaiko Pasta (明太子パスタ) is a delicious Japanese-style cod roe pasta that comes together in a matter of minutes from just a handful of ingredients. With a rich, creamy sauce that's loaded with umami, it's no wonder this new classic has become a household staple in Japan.
Course Entree
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword easy, pasta, quick, simple, wafu
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Fish, Pasta
Diet Low Sugar, Pescatarian
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 410 kcal


  • 90 grams karashi mentaiko (about 2 pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup half and half (half cream, half milk)
  • 9 grams Parmigiano Reggiano (grated)
  • 200 grams dry spaghetti
  • 1/4 sheet nori (cut into thin strips with scissors, for garnish)
  • 3 leaves green shiso (thinly sliced, for garnish)
Metric - US Imperial


  1. Boil the pasta according to the package directions in well-salted water (about 1 tablespoon salt per 5 cups of water).
    Boiling spaghetti in a pot for Mentaiko Pasta
  2. Whole mentaiko comes in the roe sacks which have a tough outer membrane. Pierce one end of it and then squeeze the roe out of membrane into the bowl, like you're squeezing toothpaste out of the tube.
    Separating Mentaiko roe from the membrane.
  3. Add the olive oil, half and half, and Parmigiano Reggiano and then whisk to combine.
    Separating Mentaiko roe from the membrane.
  4. Prepare the garnishes.
    Cutting nori into garnish-size strips.
  5. When the pasta is done, drain it and then add it immediately to the bowl with the Mentaiko sauce. Toss to coat the pasta evenly.
    Tossing spaghetti with creamy Mentaiko pasta sauce.
  6. You can plate it using tongs and a small bowl or ladle and then garnish it with the nori and shiso.
    Plating Mentaiko pasta using a bowl.
Nutrition Facts
Mentaiko Pasta (明太子パスタ)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 410 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 121mg40%
Sodium 87mg4%
Potassium 241mg7%
Carbohydrates 51g17%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 185IU4%
Vitamin C 4.8mg6%
Calcium 77mg8%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.