There are a lot of Italian restaurants in Japan, and you can find any kinds of Italian pasta there. There are also many “pasta restaurants” that are different from Italian restaurants. There they serve typical Italian pasta dishes such as tomato sauce and cream sauce pasta, but also more Japanese flavored and their own kinds of pasta. Japanese pasta is as popular as authentic Italian counter part.
In Japanese flavored pasta dishes, people like using salted cod roe, pickled plums and other picked vegetables as ingredients that have strong flavor and saltiness. Because they enjoy each ingredient’s own taste, the sauce doesn’t need to be heavy or complicated, but rather simply seasoned with soy sauce, salt, or citrus juice. It is pretty easy to make Japanese flavored pasta at home. There is pretty much no cooking skills involved (if you can boil spaghetti, your job is half way done!), only thing you need is fresh ingredients. In this recipe, bacon has great smokey flavor and saltiness, and Shimeji mushrooms have mild but its own savory tast which work nicely in the sauce.
Shimeji mushrooms are very common mushrooms used in many dishes in Japan. If you can’t find them, use Enoki mushrooms or regular white button mushrooms. Oba leaves have refreshing after taste good in here, but omit if you don’t have them. However, try not to skip roasted seaweed that enhances the flavor a lot.
- 1/2 lb (225g) spaghetti
- 3 slices bacon, cut to 1/2" width
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bunch Shimeji mushrooms, cut the bottom, separated into pieces by hand
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp Mirin
- 1 Tbsp Sake
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3 green onions, thinly cut
- 4-5 Oba leaves, thinly cut
- thinly cut roasted seaweed
- Boil about 12 cups or 3 littler of water in a big pot and add about 3 Tbsp salt (not in the ingredients). Cook spaghetti according to the instructions on the package.
- Heat a frying pan at medium heat. Add bacon pieces and cook until browned and somewhat crispy. Add minced garlic and stir. Add Shimeji mushrooms and sliced onion and cook until tender. Add into the pan a quarter cup of boiling water from the pasta, the soy sauce, Mirin, and Sake, and stir well. Add butter in the sauce. Put the cooked spaghetti into the sauce, then add green onions. Stir for a couple of minutes to coat the spaghetti with the sauce.
- Serve on a plate, and top with thinly cut Oba leaves and seaweed.