A recipe for Maj. Baldanza, who gets hungry sometimes…
Wafu spaghetti is a Japanese interpretation of Italian-style pasta. Lest you be tempted to giggle, the Japanese kids are eating this stuff up nowadays, and in some Tokyo neighborhoods, you can’t turn a corner without bumping into a spaghetti joint. Seriously. It’s fusion cuisine, really – Japanese flavors with Italian pasta, served with a fork, a spoon, and a generous portion of Parmesan. There’s one restaurant in San Francisco that serves wafu spaghetti (On the Bridge, in Japantown), but that’s all the way across town. Recently, however, I reverse-engineered the recipe. It’s painfully simple, delicious, super-fast to prepare, and painless to clean up.
(Quantities here for a single serving; scale accordingly)
Total time (prep and cooking) = 20 minutes
Green Onion (2 stalks)
10 – 15 medium mushrooms (Shitake are best, white will work)
Soy sauce (lighter is better)
Some chopped nori (dried seaweed)
1) Bring your pot of spaghetti water to a boil.
2) While the water heats, chop the green onions, slice the mushrooms, and chop some nori into thin strips.
3) In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter, then saute the green onions. Add the mushrooms, and saute for a few minutes. Remove from heat until spaghetti water comes to a boil.
3) When the water comes to a boil, add the spaghetti.
4) As the pasta cooks, return the skillet to heat, then add enough soy sauce to coat the bottom of your skillet. Add a pinch or two of chopped nori. Add a splash of sake, if you’re feeling nutty. Bring the mixture to a low simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, to allow it to reduce. Remove from heat until the spaghetti is ready.
5) Drain the spaghetti, and add a portion’s worth to the skillet, and toss with the sauce. Heat to taste on the stove, then serve on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Add some more shredded nori on the top, and some parmesan, to taste.
EXTRA CREDIT: The sauce can also be served with bonus treats, such as sliced ham, or (better yet) pancetta. I’ve also had it served with Japanese goodies, such as tobiko (flying fish roe); just pile some on at the end, just before adding parmesan. For other options, you can draw inspiration from this menu, photographed at a restaurant in Shibuya, Tokyo. Mix n’ eat. Yum.