pasta for one

I lack discipline. I really do.

If you’ve ever gone food-shopping with me, this will be no surprise to you. Just last week alone, I made two impulse buys – a bucket of ‘ugly’ fresh shitake mushrooms at the farmer’s market (“it’s such a good deal!”) and a whole bunch of shiso leaves at the Japanese store (“but I must have them for the umeshiso rolls!”). It doesn’t sound like that much, you say? Well, did I tell you that we also subscribe to a weekly delivery of organic produce from Terra Firma Farms? This makes our fridge is a veritable garden, but one where we’re sometimes faced with the task of figuring out how to combine various ingredients that are all going to go bad soon. So… shiso, shitake, and my general laziness in trying to find something more ambitious to do with them resulted in a simple Japanese-style pasta dish.

(Please forgive the inexact quantities in the following “recipe”, because it honestly doesn’t matter. You can have a more mushroom-y dish or a less shiso-y dish .. it’ll still be pretty damn delicious. The amounts below are what I used to make dinner just for me.)

handful of fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced coarsely
handful of shiso leaves, chopped or chiffonaded
nori strips (I just used scissors on half of a nori sheet)
soy sauce
olive oil
as much dried spaghetti or linguini as you want to eat for dinner

Boil large pot of water, then add in a few pinches of salt. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water.

Heat some olive oil in a skillet and saute the mushrooms until they begin to give off their liquid. Add in a couple dashes of soy sauce (depending on how salty you like your food) and let the mushrooms simmer for 1-2 min.

Meanwhile, drain the pasta (do not rinse in cold water).

Throw the cooked pasta into the skillet and toss quickly with the soy sauce + mushrooms (you don’t want to recook the pasta too much or it’ll no longer be al dente). If the pasta seems too dry, add in some of the reserved pasta water.

Turn off the heat. Toss in the chopped shiso. Transfer to a plate and top with nori strips.

(Makes enough for one person’s dinner)