The brass dinner fork and spoon is made by the amazing Ann Ladson.

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If I ranted, I hope it isn’t thoughtless.

If I wrote songs, I hope it isn’t comfortable.

If I were a wood-worker, I’ll have a summer cabin.

If I made things with metals, I hope I had made these.

If I were sociable, I hope I am also sincere.

If I were a friend, I hope I don’t mistake loyalty with bias.

If I envied, I hope I could say it out loud.

If I had experienced joy, I hope it is without victims.

If I had a garden, I hope it grows shades for stray dogs.

If I were young, I would change nothing.

If I were a parent, I hope I don’t always think like one.

If I were a believer, I hope I have strength for reasons.

If I were a lion, I hope I respect the lambs.

If I were a vegetarian, I am going to have a pet pig.

If I were smart, I hope it comes with wisdom.

If I were a follower, I hope I wasn’t blind.

If I asked myself questions, I hope it isn’t answered by someone else.

If I were a particle physicist, I hope I can overlook human pettiness.

If I had compassion, it shall be selective.

If I were powerful, I hope I have the capacity to let go.

If I were in the same position, I hope I could resist the mistakes.

If I could live anywhere, I want to live in New York.

But if I lived by the sea, I hope it is home for sea urchins, too.

And if I lived by sea urchins, I hope you would visit me in the summer.

If you visited me in the summer, I hope I make this for you.

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Serving Size: 2


  • 1.8 oz (50 grams/about 1.5" square) pancetta, very finely diced or minced
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp black salt, or sea salt
  • 2.1 oz (60 grams) fresh uni/sea urchin without shell
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tbsp (22 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 7 oz (200 grams) linguine pasta
  • 1 sheet of nori/Japanese seaweed


  1. TO MAKE PORK SALT: Cook finely diced/minced pancetta and ground black pepper in a small pot over low heat, stirring frequently, until all the fat has rendered out and the pancetta is very dry and crispy (resembles very fine pork cracklings). This will take a few minutes depending. Drain the pancetta-bits well then wrap them with paper towels on a flat surface, pressing it to extract any excess oils and changing the paper-towels if necessary, until the pancetta-bits are very dry. Transfer them to a mortar with black salt, then pound until finely ground (the pancetta will not ground properly if it wasn't rendered/dried sufficiently). Set aside until needed.
  2. TO MAKE UNI CARBONARA: You can use uni from fresh sea urchin, or from store-bought boxes that already did all the dirty work for you. Whatever you choose, just make sure that they are absurdly fresh. Pass the uni/sea urchin through a very find sieve into a bowl, then discard any solids/impurities that remains on the sieve. Whisk in the egg yolks until smooth, then the unsalted butter (its' fine if there are small bits of butter that don't blend). Set aside.
  3. Bring a pot of water with 2 heavy pinches of salt to boil. Cook the linguine according to instructions until al dente, then drain through a large sieve. Return the linguine to the still hot cooking-pot while it's still dripping a bit of pasta-water, then add the uni-mixture. Without applying any more heat, stir the linguine and the sauce together for about 20 seconds, until the sauce starts to thicken from the residual heat. Season lightly with sea salt (but not too much because we're gonna top it with pork salt), then divide into 2 serving plates.
  4. Wave the nori/seaweed-sheet 2" above open flames for a few seconds to crisp up, then crumble it with your hands over the pasta. Sprinkle with pork salt, then serve immediately with a glass of white wine.

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  • Betty | le jus d'orange

    August 18, 2015 at 8:39 PM Reply

    This is GENIUS!!!

  • Cady | Wild Heart of Life

    August 18, 2015 at 9:22 PM Reply

    This is a beautiful dish! I love the idea of using nori in pasta.

  • Ursula @ LilVienna.com

    August 18, 2015 at 9:23 PM Reply

    Pasta – always a good idea ;-) Go carbs!

  • Jessica

    August 18, 2015 at 9:30 PM Reply

    decadent and beautiful as always!

  • cynthia

    August 18, 2015 at 10:37 PM Reply

    Totally, utterly captivated. Thank you for this, Mandy. These words, these photos (!) and this incredible pasta are all perfect.

  • Catriona | Analog Eats

    August 19, 2015 at 12:14 AM Reply

    Oh boy, carbonara is one of my faves! A very beautiful, thoughtful post as well!

  • Sam @ SugarSpun

    August 19, 2015 at 12:21 AM Reply

    I’ve become obsessed with your blog. Everything about this post is just perfect.

  • Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous)

    August 19, 2015 at 1:01 AM Reply

    i saw something like this (this one sounds better though- pork salt and seaweed?!?!) when i visited chicago last year, but chickened out in favor of some polenta dish. will definitely have to try this now!!

  • tunie

    August 19, 2015 at 1:19 AM Reply

    By black salt you mean the Indian sulfur black salt, that tastes of egg, yes? Not the Hawaiian black lava salt? Love the poem and those utensils are gorgeous.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      August 19, 2015 at 1:19 PM Reply

      Tunie, it’s Hawaiian black lava salt :) I saw it being used on uni nigiri in a sushi restaurant before, but sea salt is just fine, too :)

  • Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen

    August 19, 2015 at 1:28 AM Reply

    Oh man I love uni carbonara. So creamy and salty and briny.

  • Eliza | Pen + Pan

    August 19, 2015 at 1:36 AM Reply

    This rendition of carbonara looks lush. I love the sea-infused twist with the addition of uni and nori.

  • Kara | Sorghum and Starch

    August 19, 2015 at 2:13 AM Reply

    This is absolutely gorgeous, and I LOVE the idea of the pork salt.

  • Pamela

    August 19, 2015 at 6:00 AM Reply

    Where on earth in Beijing did you find UNI in their shells?? Wow!! This looks so good. The salted pork idea is great. Looks soooo yummy!

    You know whatelse is good this way: Japanese style tarako, cod row. It is sold slightly salted here in supermarkets. Peel off the outer covering and mash up the tiny row with the egg yolks and lots of butter. Add to the hot pasta, that is enough cooking! Put lots of nori on top. We can buy nori pre-sliced into thin slivers here which is great!!

    • Pamela

      August 19, 2015 at 6:42 AM Reply

      I made a mistake: NOT cod row, it should be COD ROE, (⌒-⌒; )

  • kimberly

    August 19, 2015 at 12:07 PM Reply

    poetry, food, art, what more do you need?

  • MissLK

    August 19, 2015 at 2:32 PM Reply

    Your writing and culinary talents just elevated the quote ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish.’ to another level for me. One pitfall in your recipe though… I don’t know how anyone can resist fresh uni. I would finish them off and be left with nothing for making the carbonara.

  • Kristina

    August 19, 2015 at 7:10 PM Reply

    At firs I cringed when I read pork salt, but when I saw what it is…yummy!
    Great post, very stylish!

  • Ylva

    August 19, 2015 at 11:03 PM Reply

    I want it. I need it. NOW! I just saw this new post whilst preparing your onigri from last week… absolutely awesome!
    Damn, I’m hungry now! ;-) This one immediately goes on the list for the next hunger attack (I will just have to leave out the sea urchin though… I don’t know where to get good uni here in Germany).

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      August 19, 2015 at 11:32 PM Reply

      YLVA, without sea urchins, you may need other flavouring agents like traditional carbonara. garlic, loads of good parmesan cheese and generous amount of black pepper :)

      • Ylva

        August 20, 2015 at 3:00 AM Reply

        Yeay, more parmesan and garlic! ;-) Thank you Mandy. We will try it this way. Maybe I will even add a little bit of miso on top of that…? Yummie!

  • Joanna

    August 20, 2015 at 1:39 AM Reply

    Pasta is always a good idea!

  • Gabriel @ The Dinner Special podcast

    August 20, 2015 at 3:18 AM Reply

    OH MY! This is all of my wife’s favorite things in one bowl, well, except she’d probably opt for bucatini if I made it. But I think she’d probably love any kind of pasta if you just happened to stop by and make this wonderful creation.

  • Heather Wischmann

    August 21, 2015 at 12:00 AM Reply

    My mind gets blown a little more each time I come to your site. You’re sort of a unicorn but you must know this. The writing, photography and food…love it all so much. Thank you.

  • zoe

    August 23, 2015 at 2:52 AM Reply

    Made this for dinner with friends last night—they were bowled over. I thank you and gave you oodles of credit. I can confidently say that you now have 3 new fans! We used to collect urchin/uni from the rocks in Corsica–cut them open and sip them down with some crisp white wine for lunch. Unfortunately, I was not able to get them that fresh last night. Another problem was that I did not have the fork and spoon from your photo. I think this would have made the dish. Please, oh please, would you let me know where you purchased them?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      August 24, 2015 at 5:10 AM Reply

      Zoe, thanks!! Click on the link “Ann Ladson” below the first photo!

  • Frances

    September 5, 2015 at 11:46 AM Reply

    Your photos always blow me away. That fork and spoon in particular look amazing in the dark photography you have going on. I must confess, your food blog is one of my main motivations for wanting to become a better food photographer and writer. Thanks for the share and keep doing what you’re doing!

  • Sabrina

    October 20, 2015 at 12:57 AM Reply

    Love this!

  • Dan

    February 19, 2016 at 4:57 AM Reply

    Where can I find those amazing utensils?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 19, 2016 at 1:44 PM Reply

      Dan, it’s by Ann Ladson! There’s a link to her online shop at the beginning of the post :)

  • Debra

    July 22, 2016 at 11:46 PM Reply

    Ez a vacsora csÃzcsgasºtronómiai szintű volt-é avagy netán mégsem?Hosszas vita zajlott errÅ‘l a Bűvös blogon, rosszmagam részvételével. Az ottani hangadó opponens (egy Levin “nevű” titokzatos, viszont copfos úr) szerint alapvetÅ‘en nem fér össze a magas szintű gasztronómiai teljesítmény és a jóllakás igénye. Szerintem meg igen.EttÅ‘l a sortól jól (is) lehetett lakni, hasonlóan Zsolt korábbi borvacsoráihoz. Szerencsére!

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