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5 from 1 vote

Uni Cacio e Pepe

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins


  • 6 ounces spaghetti or bucatini
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water divided
  • 5 ounces fresh sea urchin roe
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano


  • Begin by placing a colander and measuring cup in your sink.
  • Bring a medium pot filled with salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, per the package’s instructions (mine told me about 9 minutes). Pour some of the pasta water into the measuring cup (about 1/2 cup) and drain the pasta in your colander. Immediately transfer the measuring cup to the freezer so the water can chill until it’s room temperature. The pasta water doesn’t need to be cold, we just don’t want it scalding hot when we add it to the food processor, along with the uni. Place the pasta back in the empty pot (with the heat turned off) and cover, just so it stays warm while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  • To a food processor, add the uni. Be sure to reserve a piece or two as garnish. Pour in 1/4 cup of room temperature or warm pasta water to the food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour the uni sauce through a sieve and discard any bits. Set aside.
  • To a medium skillet, set over low heat, add 1 tablespoon of pasta water. Heat the pasta water until a wisp of steam rises from the top, about 30 seconds. Next, add the butter and constantly move the pan until the butter completely incorporates into the water. Turn off the heat and slowly begin to add the reserved uni sauce, one tablespoon at a time, only adding more until the tablespoon added prior is completely incorporated. Repeat the adding of the uni sauce until you’ve worked your way through all of it.
  • Add a few pinches of salt and about 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Give it a taste and adjust the salt and pepper content to your liking. Add the pasta and toss until thoroughly coated. It shouldn’t be too too saucy. Divide the pasta amongst bowls, top with a generous handful of Pecorino Romano, more black pepper and a piece of uni. Serve immediately.


This dish goes quickly, so this is one of those instances when I recommend getting all of your ingredients prepped and the table set!


Serving: 2g