Itameshi, which literally translates into “Italian food,” has become synonymous with the Japanese take on Italian cuisine. When traveling throughout Japan, you may come across a few of these unique itameshi dishes including mentaiko (cod roe) pasta, tuna and corn pizza, and Napolitan spaghetti topped with a fried egg.
Matcha pasta belongs to the itameshi category and is a type of wafu pasta, or Japanese-style pasta. Wafu (written 和風 in kanji) means “Japanese-style” and is often applied to items that originated in Western culture but were altered to suit the Japanese market, culture, or palate. As Italian and Japanese cuisine both heavily feature noodles, wafu pasta is a logical and delicious union of the two cooking styles. Other examples of wafu foods include wafu salad dressing and wafu hamburger steak.
This recipe includes all of the ingredients found in an authentic carbonara but employs matcha as a secret ingredient to add a robust, earthy flavor and beautiful pale green color to this Italian classic. To form the matcha carbonara sauce, simply mix matcha powder into reserved pasta water, then stir in parmesan cheese to form a sauce. Next, fry together bacon, garlic, and mushrooms. The addition of mushrooms complements the vegetal flavor of the matcha. Once all the components are cooked, add the remaining pasta water, noodles, and matcha parmesan mixture to the pan, then stir to combine. Serve piping hot with a garnish of parmesan and parsley.
If you’re looking for a fun, Japanese-inspired twist on a tried-and-true dish, look noo further than this unique Matcha Pasta.
- 100g pasta
- 1-2 tsp matcha powder (adjust based on your preference for a weaker or stronger matcha flavor)
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove (minced)
- 2-3 slices of bacon (diced)
- Handful of your favorite mushrooms
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions. Set aside 4 tbsp of pasta water and drain well.
- In a small bowl, mix the matcha powderwith 2 tbsp of pasta water. Stir until no clumps remain. Add theparmesan cheese. Stir to combine.
- In a frying pan, cook the olive oil and garlic while stirring. Add the bacon and mushrooms and continue stirring.
- Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add the remaining 2 tbsp of pasta water and remove from heat.
- Add the drained pasta and the matcha sauce from step 2. Stir to combine and serve.
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.
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