If a person has never been to Japan, it’s probably hard for him/her to imagine that the Japanese cook and eat Italian food quite often. In fact, Italian restaurants are everywhere, I mean everywhere. At home we cook all kinds of pasta, and the younger generation definitely eat more Italian food than my parents’ generation.
Last year I saw an article in San Francisco Chronicle about the growing Japanese influence on San Francisco food. It’s an interesting article to read if you have time. But here I’m still talking about Italian food in Japan. In this article, the editor Michael Bauer mentioned that chef David Kinch at Manresa said, “the best French and Italian restaurants in the world outside of France and Italy are in Japan. It is that amazing.” Personally I’ve only been in Japan, some other Asian countries, and the US so I can’t make the same statement. But I have to agree that even Italian restaurants in my local Yokohama neighborhood serves superb Italian food, compared to the Italian restaurants in my neighborhood in the US. Not just restaurants, Japanese housewives cook pretty tasty pasta as well and they even create their version with Japanese ingredients.
Today, I will share one spaghetti recipe with a Japanese twist. I add a little bit of soy sauce to the cream sauce as a secret ingredient. I hope you will give it a try and let me know what you think. Lastly, when you visit Japan, don’t be surprised to see many Italian restaurants!
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- 2 servings of spaghetti
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 slices bacon, cut into ½” pieces
- 3 mushrooms, sliced
- 2 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 pkg shimeji mushroom, cut off the base part of shimeji mushrooms
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cube vegetable bouillon (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Parsley for garnish
- Start cooking spaghetti according to package instructions. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of ingredients. You can combine heavy whipping cream and milk in the same measuring cup.
- In a large skillet heat olive oil on medium heat and cook garlic until fragrant.
- Add bacon and sauté.
- Add the three kinds of mushrooms and mix all together. Sprinkle pepper if you like.
- Stir in flour and keep mixing with wooden spoon. Constantly scrape off the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in whipping cream and milk and continue scraping off the bottom of the pan.
- Add a bouillon cube and break it with the wooden spoon (optional). Bring the sauce to a boil.
- When boiling, add soy sauce and mix all together.
- When the sauce gets thicken, add black pepper (and salt) to taste. Bacon is salty so I usually don’t put salt here.
- You can add spaghetti in the skillet to mix with the sauce, or you can pour the sauce over the spaghetti on a serving plate. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.