Exploring Umami: Shrimp and Shiitake Pasta in a Soy Sauce-Butter Fusion

July 13, 2023

In years past, I chanced upon the shrimp and shiitake pasta in a soy sauce-butter fusion, a blend that emanates an intense umami sensation. This fusion revelation took place in a Japanese diner in New Jersey during my high school years, a time when my palate had yet to appreciate sushi. Instead, I chose a dish named “soy sauce butter spaghetti.” Unbeknownst to me, I was in for a pleasant surprise by its captivatingly savory taste.

At that time, my mind was primarily preoccupied with school assignments rather than culinary explorations. However, it’s time this mouth-watering combo took the spotlight. Butter and soy sauce, fantastic as individual ingredients, become an exceptional pair when combined. This partnership is further enriched with the addition of succulent shrimp and the earthy tones of shiitake mushrooms.

This dish is easy to prepare and requires ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. If you can’t source shiitake mushrooms, any other type will do just fine. If you’re seeking a vegetarian option, consider our ratatouille pasta or roasted choy sum pesto pasta recipes!

Shrimp and Shiitake Pasta in a Soy Sauce-Butter Fusion: Ingredients

  • 10 oz. of your preferred dried pasta (approximately 300g, thin spaghetti works well)
  • Olive oil
  • 8 oz. shrimp (about 225g, cleaned, deveined, and pat dry)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 minced shallots
  • 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms (approximately 10-12 mushrooms or 225g, thinly sliced)
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (low-sodium versions work best to control the saltiness)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps to a Delicious Dinner

  1. Boil water for your pasta. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until nearly smoking. Sear the shrimp until they turn opaque and crisp, then remove and set aside.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and sauté the garlic and shallots until they start to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to caramelize for another 5-7 minutes. If necessary, add a little more olive oil to keep the pan from drying out.
  3. As per the package instructions, cook and drain your pasta, saving a cup of the pasta water. Deglaze the skillet with the white wine and continue cooking for another couple of minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Incorporate the cooked pasta, soy sauce, and butter into the skillet, tossing until the butter melts. Add the seared shrimp, parsley, and Parmesan, giving everything a good mix. If needed, use some of the reserved pasta water to loosen up the dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste, but remember the soy sauce is already salty. Now it’s ready to serve and enjoy!

This mouth-watering fusion of umami flavors is sure to leave you craving for more. The perfect balance of savory and earthy notes, complemented by the rich textures of shrimp and pasta, make this a must-try dish for any food enthusiast.

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