I love the classic Italian pairing of aglio e olio - garlic and oil that's cooked with chilli flakes and served with pasta. But with the garlic, oil and chilli flakes as the starting point, the combination is open to endless variations. Here, the ingredients are cooked with sakura ebi - tiny pink shrimp that can be eaten fresh, but which are more commonly available dried. Light and delicate, these dried shrimp are very different from Chinese dried shrimp, which are thicker, harder and chewier. They're sold in packs from shops that specialise in Japanese ingredients. For even more umami, I add Chinese dried shrimp roe and fresh tobiko (flying fish) roe.
This makes far more of the topping than you'll need for two servings; the leftovers keep for at least two weeks in the fridge. The next time you want to serve the dish, heat some of the remaining sakura shrimp aglio e olio in a skillet while boiling the pasta.
Thinly slice the garlic. Cut the spring onions into 5mm (¼in) pieces.
Pour the oil into a wok or skillet then add the garlic and place over a medium flame. Heat until the oil sizzles, then turn the flame to low. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic is very pale golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic from the skillet, leaving behind as much oil as possible.
Turn the flame to medium and add the sakura shrimp, shrimp roe and chilli flakes. Stir almost constantly until the shrimp darken slightly. Taste the mixture and add salt, if needed. Stir in the spring onions and cook until the oil stops sizzling, stirring often. Turn off the flame. Put the cooked garlic back into the pan and mix with the other ingredients. The olive oil should liberally coat the ingredients; if it seems dry, stir in more oil.
Boil a pot of salted water, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Ladle off about 60ml (¼ cup) of the pasta water. Drain the pasta in a colander then put it back into the pot used to boil it. Add a generous amount of the sakura shrimp aglio e olio and mix it with the pasta, drizzling in a little pasta water if it seems dry. Taste for seasonings and add more salt, if necessary.
Divide the pasta between two to plates and top each portion with more of the sakura shrimp aglio e olio and some of the flying fish roe. Garnish with shiso sprouts and serve. Mix well before eating.