Tasty Japanese-style (Wafu) mushroom pasta seasoned with Japanese flavors, garnished with shiso leaves and shredded nori.
What is Japanese pasta?? You might ask. Yes, not Ramen, no Udon, not Soba, but pasta. Japanese pasta is simply Italian pasta prepared with Japanese ingredients and flavors. Italian food is very popular in Japan, and as I had mentioned in my Creamy Mushroom & Bacon Spaghetti post before, some people do think Japan has the best Italian food outside of Italy. What’s interesting is one of the Italian bloggers that I met recently also said the same thing.
When Italian food was introduced to Japan around the post-war period, only Italian style pasta was served. Then around the ’70s, people started experimenting with Japanese flavors and ingredients. Now Japanese-style pasta (also known as Wafuu Pasta) is very popular in Japan and there are many kinds of Wafuu pasta that we eat at home or at restaurants. Today I’m sharing one recipe that my family loves and I will share more Japanese-style pasta in the future.
Japanese style Mushroom & Tuna Pasta
- 8 oz spaghetti (4 oz/113 g per person)
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 shimeji mushrooms (the bottom discarded; you can use enoki or other types of mushrooms)
- 2 shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
- 4 button mushrooms (sliced)
- 2 Tbsp sake
- 1 can tuna in oil/water (5 oz, 142 g; drained)
- 1 tsp kobucha (kombucha) (or substitute with ¼ tsp kosher salt; This is not kombucha, a fermented drink. It's made from kombu seaweed.)
- 2 Tbsp mentsuyu/tsuyu (noodle soup base) (concentrated; please adjust the amount based on your mentsuyu brand; You can substitute with 1 ½ Tbsp soy sauce)
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Start boiling 4 QT (16 cups, 3.8 L) water in a large pot. Once boiling, add 1 ½ Tbsp salt and spaghetti. Cook the pasta 1 minute less than the package instructions as you will cook the pasta a little longer after draining. Reserve 4 Tbsp (¼ cup, 60 ml) of pasta water just in case you want to dilute the pasta sauce.
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil on medium heat and cook all the mushrooms. After a few minutes, add sake and let the alcohol evaporate.
- Add the canned tuna and combine it together.
- Add kobucha (kombucha) or salt, mentsuyu, and butter and mix all together. Add reserved pasta water if needed. But remember, you will be adding the pasta so don't dilute the flavor too much.
- Add cooked pasta to the pan and toss it all together. Transfer to individual plates and garnish with the pasta with shiso leaves and shredded nori seaweed.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for a month.