SOMETIMES having a fiery Sardinian head chef and business partner can be quite testing!

But apart from being a wiz in the kitchen he does have a wealth of knowledge about the Mediterranean cuisine and sometimes creates dishes I have never tasted or even heard of before.

Like this dish for example, Spaghetti Alla Bottarga, which is very easy to make and extremely delicious.

Its main ingredient, Bottarga, is simply pressed, dried, salted fish roe either from tuna or grey mullet. It is one of Luciano’s favourite ingredients from his native homelands and he gets very passionate when he describes the texture and flavour, as most Italians do!

He explains that the Bottarga di Tonno (Tuna) is mainly used in Sicily and the more prized (and more expensive) Bottarga di Muggine (which is Grey Mullet) is from the Sardinian coastlines.

The best he describes, is the Bottarga di Muggine di Cabras, which is from the town of Cabras. He describes it as being the Amarone of the bottarga world.

Luciano tells me that originally it was used as food for the fishermen, back before there were fridges or engines and the fishermen could be at sea for days.

The only way to preserve food was to dry it and salt it. The fish roe was not the most popular part of the fish, and was often left behind at the fish market, so the fisherman made this into food for themselves.

They would clean, salt, press and dry the roe, hanging the flat coral coloured substance for months on end. The very same process is still used today.

The tuna bottarga is grey in colour and has a stronger, saltier and more robust flavour than the grey mullet variety which is amber to dark brown in colour with a firm and waxy texture.

The best way to eat bottarga is raw. Thinly sliced and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon it makes a perfect antipasto.

But due to the fact that it’s quite expensive, often referred to as Sardinian caviar, making a pasta dish from it or a topping for bruschetta is a much more cost effective way to enjoy it.

It’s not quite as expensive as caviar or truffles but is really more of a semi-affordable luxury. But the best part is that it keeps and keeps. This means that if you shave a little off on your pasta then don’t go back to it for another month, the salted cured roe will be just fine as long as you remember to keep it refrigerated.

Bottarga di Muggine should be available in any good Italian delicatessen. It can be bought ready grated in jars but do try and avoid this, especially if trying it for the first time and buy it in its block form.

It is sold either vacuum packed or sealed in beeswax, and can last up to two to three years if unopened. It should cost around £15 to £20 per 100g.