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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) are 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 Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
- 2-3 servings spaghetti
- 1 shimeji mushrooms (rinsed and the bottom discarded)
- 2 shiitake mushrooms (rinsed and sliced)
- 4 button mushrooms (rinsed and sliced)
- 1 pkg enoki mushrooms (rinsed and the bottom discarded; I didn’t have this today)
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp sake
- 1 can tuna in oil/water (5 oz; drained)
- 1 tsp Konbucha (or substitute with ¼ tsp kosher salt; See Notes)
- 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
- 3 shiso leaves (perilla/ooba) (chiffonaded, optional)
- shredded nori seaweed (kizami nori)
Gather all the ingredients.
Start boiling 4 quarts (16 cups, 3.8 L) water in a large pot. Once boiling, add 1 ½ Tbsp salt and spaghetti. As we will cook the pasta a little longer after draining, cook it 1 minute less than the directions on the package. Reserve 4 Tbsp (¼ cup, 60 ml) of pasta water just in case you want to dilute the pasta sauce.
In a large skillet, heat 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 Konbucha (or salt), Mentsuyu (concentrated), and butter and mix all together. Add reserved 4 Tbsp of pasta water to the pan.
Pick up the noodles with a pair of tongs (or you can quickly drain in the sink) and add to the pan to combine. Taste and add seasonings if necessary. Transfer to individual plates and garnish with shiso leaves and shredded nori seaweed.
Konbucha: This is not Kombucha, a fermented drink. Konbucha/Kobucha is made from Konbu seaweed. It is full of konbu glutamine and asparagine umami deliciousness. Konbucha is a salty seasoning so if you can’t find this, you can substitute with kosher salt instead. But Konbu gives nice umami… I hope you can find this seasoning. At Japanese supermarkets, you can find it in the tea section as we drink it as a tea.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.