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.

IMG_0449Notes:

  1. If you want to get a little fancier, use pancetta instead of bacon.
  2. If you want to cut the bacon out, that’s fine too. (I just love bacon!!)
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the tough bottom ends of your green vegetable and stir-fry for a couple minutes.
  5. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for two minutes.
  6. Add butter, then add the leafy or tender end of your green vegetable.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Serve, with bacon pieces and red chili rings on top as garnish.

IMG_0504

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