If there’s one dish you should make for Valentine’s Day or a date night in, it has to be this 15-minute rich and creamy uni pasta! This dish comes with a fair warning – it’s the ultimate showstopper and panty-dropper type of meal. The richness of the uni is perfectly balanced with a delicate sweetness and a hint of brininess for an incredibly unique taste. Once you have a bite of this, you’ll be completely OBSESSED! 😋
So whether you’re trying to impress your special someone or wow your friends and family, this pasta recipe are the one for you. The best part about this recipe is that it’s a restaurant-quality dish without the restaurant price tag. Not only does it taste delicious, but it’s also very easy and straightforward to prepare!
Why you’ll love this recipe
Uni is a delicacy in many parts of the world and is even considered a luxury food ingredient. It’s creamy, rich, seafoody, and incredibly… sexy. You might already be familiar with uni at sushi restaurants but it’s just as good, if not BETTER, with pasta.
This indulgent pasta recipe will make your date nights feel special and luxurious. Plus what says ‘I LOVE YOU’ more than a delectable plate of uni pasta?! The briny flavor and seafood essence of the uni blends beautifully well with the heavy cream and sweet sake. Just a couple of teaspoons of Sambal Oelek or chili garlic paste will be sure to help spice up your night.
Apart from the uni, the rest of the ingredients are easily accessible or probably already in your pantry. This means dinner can be ready in no time and you can spend more time doing other ‘date night activities’. Namysayin’? 😉
How do I prepare Uni Pasta?
If pasta is one of your favorite dishes to make, wait til you try this delicious, rich, and creamy uni pasta. Once you have a bite, I’m confident you’ll be adding this recipe to your pasta repertoire. To get started, follow the steps below!
Step 1: Prepare the uni
In a blender or food processor, combine the uni and heavy cream. Blend them together until completely smooth. Remove from the blend and transfer to a small bowl then set aside.
Step 2: Boil the pasta
Prepare a pot of boiling water and add a generous amount of salt. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook it according to its package instructions.
Step 3: Saute the aromatics
While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Then, toss in the shallot and garlic and cook until they’re fragrant (about 1 minute).
Step 4: Make the pasta sauce
In the same pan, add the sambal oelek (if using) and cook for 1 minute to create a quick chili oil. Next, pour in the sake and allow the mixture to cook until it’s reduced by half.
Step 5: Combine the ingredients
Once the pasta is cooked, toss it into the sauce along with the uni cream mixture. Make sure to toss them together well until they’re fully combined.
Next, add a bit of pasta water to loosen the sauce. The amount you’ll need to add will depend on the consistency you want the sauce to be. You can start by adding in 2 tablespoons of pasta water, and then add 1 tablespoon at a time until you get your desired consistency.
Step 6: Adjust the taste
Finally, don’t forget to season the pasta with salt and pepper to taste. Then, take one final bite to make sure you’re happy with the flavors.
Step 7: Plate and serve!
Plate the pasta and garnish with some extra uni and chives. Serve while hot!
Cooking Tips for Uni Pasta
To make your date night a success and prepare the best uni pasta for you and your guest, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Be sure to use the freshest and highest-quality uni you can find. Uni is the star ingredient and you want the natural flavors to shine.
- Don’t forget to reserve a bit of pasta water when you’re draining the spaghetti. You’ll need to use it to loosen up the sauce later.
- Sauteeing the sambal oelek or chili garlic paste will infuse it into the oil and create a quick chili oil for the sauce.
- Once you mix the sauce and pasta together, make sure to serve them immediately. The pasta will absorb the sauce and cause it to dry up if left out for too long. If you’re planning on serving this dish later, combine the ingredients together only when you’re ready to serve.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Uni: since uni is the star of this dish, you want to source the highest quality uni you can find. Luckily, I live close to reputable vendors so I can pick them up locally however, you should be able to purchase uni from an online vendor.
Pasta: I prefer to use spaghetti or thin spaghetti for this dish, but you can also use fettucini or linguini.
Shallot: shallots add a delicate and sweet flavor to the dish, but you can also replace them with white or red onions.
Garlic: the garlic adds a beautiful fragrant aroma to the pasta. Feel free to add as much or as little as your heart desires!
Sambal Oelek: sambal oelek adds a medley of spicy, sweet, and tangy flavors to the pasta. But you can also replace it with chili paste, gochujang, or any hot sauce of your choice. If you like you can even make my 5 minute Chili Oil & Chili Crisp recipe and use it as a substitute!
Sake: a good-quality sake will add a hint of fruitiness, sweetness, and acidity to help balance out the flavors of the pasta. Feel free to substitute sake with dry sherry or Chinese rice wine or skip it completely.
Heavy cream: the heavy cream will add richness and creamy consistency to the sauce. Heavy cream can be substituted with half and half or coconut cream for a non-dairy substitute.
Olive oil: Fee free to substitute olive oil with any neutral-tasting oil like avocado, canola, grapeseed, or vegetable oil.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is uni made of?
If you’re familiar with the taste of uni but don’t actually know what it’s made of, it’s the gonads of sea urchins. Although they’re sometimes referred to as the roe or eggs of sea urchins, the gonad is actually the sex organ that produces the eggs.
Uni is a delicacy that is most popular in Japan. They can be found all over the world however they can be difficult to harvest which is why they are often pricey. Once you have a taste of fresh, high-quality uni, the rich and briny flavors will make you understand why this is a highly sought and expensive ingredient.
What does uni taste like?
Fresh uni has a vibrant orange color with a firm consistency. It should also smell like the ocean instead of pungent or fishy. Good quality uni tastes light, and buttery and will melt easily in your mouth. Depending on where the uni is sourced from, it will also affect the sweetness and brininess of the uni.
Where can you buy uni?
You can buy uni at most Japanese special markets or specialized fish markets. If you can’t find them locally, you can also get them delivered to your home from online vendors. Whether you are buying them locally or online, just be sure to source them from a reputable supplier.
Once you’ve purchased the uni, make sure to store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. They are highly perishable so I recommend consuming them as soon as possible.
Can you store & reheat Uni Pasta?
Yes, you can store the leftover pasta in the fridge as long as you keep it in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. To reheat the pasta, place it on a pan and a teaspoon of water to revive the sauce. Allow it to cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the pasta is hot. Alternatively, you can reheat the pasta in the microwave for a few minutes.
Looking for more easy and delicious pasta recipes?
Check out my all-time favorite pasta recipes below!
1. Kimchi Alfredo Pasta – for a spicy take on the classic alfredo pasta, kimchi is added for a unique decadent twist.
2. Roasted Red Pepper Shrimp Pasta – if you’re looking for a quick and tasty way to get your veggies in, this recipe is the one. You’ll never go back to the pre-made bottled stuff!
3. Gochujang Pasta – this spicy pasta served with juicy succulent shrimp will be on repeat in your home for days. The tomato compliments the gochujang beautifully and the best part is, it’s dairy free!
4. Vegan Sausage Pasta – if you’re looking for delicious plant-based pasta ideas, you might want to try my vegan sausage pasta dish. It tastes almost like the real thing!
5. Mentaiko Pasta – if you want to try another seafood delicacy that’s just as easy to make as this uni pasta, you have to try my mentaiko pasta recipe. You only need 5 ingredients and 10 minutes!
Uni Pasta Recipe
- 4 oz (120 g) uni (sea urchin) plus more for garnish
- 5 oz pasta spaghetti or thin spaghetti
- 1 small shallot minced (about 1 tbsp)
- 4 garlic cloves minced (about 1 tbsp)
- 2 tsp Sambal olek optional or substitute with your choice of chili paste
- 1/4 cup sake
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3-4 tbsp pasta water adjust as needed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt adjust to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper adjust to taste
- chives or scallions finely chopped, for garnish
- In a blender or food processor, combine uni and heavy cream. Blend until smooth, then set aside.
- Prepare a pot of salted boiling water and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Toss in the shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Keep stirring and adjust the heat as needed to prevent them from browning.
- Next, add sambal (if using) and cook for another minute to create a quick chili oil.
- Pour in the sake and allow it to cook down until reduced by half.
- Toss in the cooked pasta then pour in the uni cream mixture. Mix until well combined.
- Depending on the thickness of your sauce, that will depend how much pasta water you will need to add. Start with 2 tablespoons then add one tablespoon of pasta water at a time until the sauce is to your desired consistency.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Plate the pasta to serve. Garnish with extra uni and chives. Enjoy!
Pin & save this recipe for later!