It’s Monday, it’s raining, and I’ve got a crapton to do after work and all I really want to do is sit on the couch and drink wine and watch DVR because EVERYTHING CAN WAIT dang it and I don’t feel like being productive.
But, I have to.
So, to console myself, I’m going to daydream about this pasta.
It’s salty and garlicky and healthy and vegetarian and FAST to make, I promise. You’ll love it, and it’s super simple and so delicious.
Here’s what you need:
- 1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti or soba noodles
- 1 cup frozen or fresh shelled edamame
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms (dried or fresh, stand by for the different instructions)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh or jarred, or 1 sprinkle of ground dried ginger)
- 1 teaspoon shriracha sauce, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce or anchovy paste
On the shiitake: I use dried because they are WAY cheaper and I always have them on hand. If you use dried, reconstitute them like I did in this method. If you have fresh shiitake, thinly slice them and add them to the pan when you add the garlic and water.
The timing for this is as follows (in case you like to see where we’re headed): start the mushrooms, start the pasta water, then make the sauce while the pasta water is boiling. Once the pasta is dropped into the water, cook the garlic, add the sauce, slice the mushrooms, add the edamame, drain, and toss all together. Sounds like a lot? It’s not. I promise, it’s easy! Here we go:
Add the shiitake to a small pot and just cover them with water and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce. You can use any kind of stock instead of water too, if you’d like! It’s up to you. Bring the mushrooms to a simmer, and let them soak in the simmering soy liquid for 15 minutes until they’re soft.
While the mushrooms are softening, start a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Then, make the sauce! Add the soy, ginger, honey, sesame oil, fish sauce, and sriracha to a small bowl or measuring cup….
….then use a fork or whisk to combine everything together. Taste, and add more sriracha or honey if you’d like!
Now, for the pasta: Add it to the pot once the water boils, and set a timer for 2 minutes LESS than the al dente recommended cooking time. When the timer goes off, add the edamame for the last 2 minutes of cooking.
While the pasta and edamame are cooking, preheat a large skillet to medium-low heat. Peel and mince the garlic and add it to the pan with 1/2 cup of water. I KNOW THIS SOUNDS WEIRD BUT DO IT. You don’t need any more fat here since we have oil in the soy mixture, and we just want to soften the garlic a tiny bit.
Now, your shiitake should be soft by now! Let them rest until they’re cool enough to handle, then slice them thinly.
Reserve the mushroom water too – it tastes great and we might add a bit to the pasta.
Back to the garlic! Let the water reduce by a little more than half – the pan should be almost dry. If the water reduces very quickly, add more and turn the heat down a bit. When the garlic is fragrant and translucent, add in the sauce and sliced mushrooms. Stir the sauce together and let it just come to a simmer – we don’t want anything close to a rapid boil.
Now, drain the pasta and edamame. Rinse for about 90 seconds in hot water – soba can be very starchy and sticky.
Add that to the sauce, and toss everything together with tongs.
Yum! Taste this, and add more soy sauce or some of the mushroom water if you’d like things a bit saltier or saucier.
Now, this is lovely all by itself – a great vegetarian dish!
OR. There’s always an or, isn’t there? You might have some dried fish flakes at your house. You don’t? I know. I did, though. They’re smoky and salty and crunchy and SO good.
I topped my pasta with a little fish flake over top and ate some pickled ginger with it to highlight the ginger flavor in the sauce. YUM. It was great both ways, and I hope you’ll love this one!