Wafu Pasta (Japanese-style pasta) 和風 PASTA
May 25, 2016 § Leave a comment
There are some dishes in life that can affect you in a profound way. For me, this was THE dish. This dish redefined what pasta meant in my life. That sounds incredibly dramatic, but it serves to illustrate the level of mind-explosion that I experienced when I first tasted this dish. It was most definitely food DEFCON 5.
My husband first made this for me about a year ago and I can remember the exact moment these flavors touched my tongue. It was salty, savory, deep, and umami-laden with incredible flavors of golden garlic, a touch of heat from chili peppers, and intense depth of mushrooms. I fell in love. With this pasta. And pretty sure I felt like I fell in love on another level with my husband.
I am sharing this recipe here after trial and error (and quite frankly, my desire to send this dish out into the world so that others can taste the amazing-ness as I did). Kahn worked so hard on this and I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Wafu pasta is a Japanese-style pasta. I know what you’re thinking…SOY SAUCE?! DASHI?! PASTA?! But believe me. This is a journey of food you only wish you took earlier in your life.
UGHHHHHHHHH I AM GETTING HUNGRY ALL OVER AGAIN and I have been eating this for 3 days in a row. That’s what happens, when I make it, I literally cannot eat anything else for the next few days because it is THAT GOOD.
- If you want to get a little fancier, use pancetta instead of bacon.
- If you want to cut the bacon out, that’s fine too. (I just love bacon!!)
- Don’t be mad/angry/upset/sad about throwing out the bacon fat. The first time Kahn made this, I got really upset about this, but after I tasted the richness and deliciousness of his final dish, I got over that REAL FAST.
- If you want to make this vegetarian, use mirin or a very, very reduced kombu-dashi instead of hondashi.
ENJOY and let me know what you think!
Wafu Pasta (Japanese-style pasta) Recipe 和風 PASTA
Serves 2 generous portions
- 4 thick slices of bacon, thinly sliced
- 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried red chili rings
- 1 lb fresh mushrooms, washed and trimmed of tough root ends (you can use shimeji, shiitake, maitake, button, portobello, cremini, enoki, whatever you’d like!)
- 1 lb green vegetable, cut into thirds and the bottom ends reserved (asparagus, chinese broccoli, spinach, watercress, kale, anything!)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sake
- 2 tbsp hondashi granules
- pinch salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 lb spaghetti
- 3-4 tbsp pasta water, reserved
- red chili rings, for garnish
- Heat bacon in a skillet on medium-high heat until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Discard all the bacon fat and wipe skillet with a paper towel. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red chili rings to the oil and toast lightly until garlic is golden brown.
- Add the tough bottom ends of your green vegetable and stir-fry for a couple minutes.
- Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for two minutes.
- Add butter, then add the leafy or tender end of your green vegetable.
- Add your spaghetti to the boiling water and set timer for two-minutes shorter than what the box says for al dente. For me, this is usually 5 minutes. When your vegetables are wilted and mushrooms are lightly golden, your pasta should be ready.
- Add spaghetti to the skillet with the vegetables and mushrooms and add 2 tbsp of the soy sauce mixture (you will have around half of the sauce left over). Add 2-3 tbsp pasta water and toss to combine evenly. Taste one strand of spaghetti for doneness and taste and add 1 tsp more of soy sauce mixture if you want more flavor.
- Serve, with bacon pieces and red chili rings on top as garnish.