Maccheroni alla Chitarra and Bottarga

I tasted this pasta for the first time at Babbo, one of Mario Batali's restaurants in New York City. I absolutely loved it and had to try to make it myself.  Luckily, I didn't have to figure out the recipe - Mario published the recipe in his "Babbo" Cookbook (this recipe alone was well worth the cost of the book). What I love most about this dish is the slight spiciness of the habanero and the sweet brininess of the bottarga mixed with the roasted tomatoes and simple red sauce. I haven't been able to find bottarga in the DC area but I did find some at Eataly, Mario Batali's Italian Superstore in New York City.  If you can't find bottarga, I would just leave the ingredient out rather than adding a substitute.  This dish is very simple to make and the recipe is right on point. I was quite pleased with how much my version tasted like the maccheroni alla chitarra and bottarga I had at Babbo.

Adapted from Mario Batali, The Babbo Cookbook



  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 habanero chili, seeded and thinly sliced (or you can substitute red pepper flakes)
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup oven-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup simple red sauce
  • 1 pound maccheroni alla chitarra or spaghettini
  • 1/4 cup whole flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • Bottarga (pressed red mullet or tuna roe) shaved or finely grated - or substitute any caviar



Step 1: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
Step 2: In a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, combine the olive oil, chili (or red pepper flakes), and garlic and saute until the garlic is almost brown, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer.
Step 3: Cook the pasta according to the package directions, until tender yet al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it to tomato mixture with the parsley. Toss over high heat one minute. Divide among 4 heated bowls, shave bottarga over each bowl, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and serve immediately.



Thank you for posting! I have been dying to try this!

Is bottarga something I can buy online or do I have to get it fresh from the store?

You can buy it online at The only other place I have found it is in NYC at Eataly. It is incredibly expensive if you buy it from iGourmet and half the cost if you buy it at Eataly. You can store what you don't use in the freezer for 2 or 3 months and have it for other uses.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.