In Japan the word wafu (literally “Japanese style”) to refer to a multitude of dishes from other countries that are made imitating foreign techniques, but with Japanese ingredients.
When it comes to pasta, there are several specialties wafu, which for Italians will undoubtedly be the most kitsch. The most popular are known as Neapolitan spaghetti, which would be the Japanese equivalent to our macaroni and chorizo: a free interpretation of the Italian dish with a ketchup-based sauce. But there are other elaborations that we should not overlook.
The one that concerns us today is the most properly Japanese: pasta is cooked al dente, as in Italy, but it is mixed with a sauce that includes Japanese mushrooms, chives, nori seaweed, butter and soy sauce. All a delight that we discovered in the recipe book of The New York Times but that we have Spanishized using seasonal chanterelles.
The result is a scandal, a dish that oozes umami, and it sure tastes great with any other type of mushroom (also grown) easier to find than chanterelles.
Before starting to make the sauce, we put water to boil with salt in a large pot, in which we are going to cook the pasta.
While the water is heating up, in a large frying pan where all the spaghetti will fit later, heat a drizzle of olive oil and four tablespoons of butter, over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the minced garlic cloves and the mushrooms (well washed). We cook constantly stirring, taking care that the garlic does not burn, until the mushrooms are golden brown, which will take around 5 minutes. We add pepper, but not salt, which we will adjust after adding the soy sauce. If the sauce is ready before the spaghetti, we reserve.
Once the spaghetti are ready –which we must remove by pulling hard, 1 minute before the time indicated by the manufacturer–, we reserve them, as well as a saucepan from the cooking water, and we reheat the pan with the sauce. We put the mushrooms on one side and on the other we add another four tablespoons of butter and the soy sauce. Let the butter and sauce mix well before mixing it all with the mushrooms and garlic. Then we add the pasta and a small saucepan of the cooking water. We cook the pasta without stopping to stir during the minute that it needs to be al dente.
We place immediately, topping the plate with a little chopped chives and a little bit of nori seaweed cut into strips.
With what to accompany the wafu spaghetti
Like any pasta recipe, these spaghetti wafu they are ideal as single plate. If we want to complete the experience, we can serve as dessert a Japanese cheese cake, another of the dishes wafu by excellence.
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