Brussels Sprouts, Shiitake, and Ham Pasta uses dashi-based flavours, which turns this Italian dish into a Japanese-style pasta. The flavour is similar to my Wafū Mushroom Pasta, but I used a shortcut today for the flavouring.
Japanese-style pasta is quite popular in Japan, perhaps because it is not as oily or creamy as Western-style pasta.
I like today’s pasta because of the cute look of the Brussels sprouts and the colour combinations of the ingredients. In addition to that, the charred Brussels sprouts stimulates your appetite.
What’s in my Brussels Sprouts, Shiitake, and Ham Pasta
- Olive oil
- Brussels sprouts, halved
- Ham sliced into strips
- Shiitake mushrooms (or other mushrooms) thinly sliced
I used a couple of slices of large leg ham.
The flavour of today’s pasta dish comes from just two ingredients.
- Mentsuyu (condensed to triple strength)
The secret to the shortcut for the flavouring is the use of a condensed soba/udon noodle broth called ‘mentsuyu’.
It is a convenient pantry ingredient to have because you don’t need to make dashi stock and the broth will be ready to use by simply diluting mentsuyu with water.
A bottle of condensed mentsuyu should indicate the condensation strength. My bottle was ‘sanbai nōshuku‘ (3倍濃縮, triple strength), meaning it was condensed to 1/3 of the original quantity. By adding 2 parts of water to 1 part of mentsuyu, it becomes a standard noodle broth.
Similarly, ‘yonbai nōshuku‘ (4倍濃縮, 4x strength, condensed to 1/4) requires 3 parts of water to 1 part of mentsuyu, ‘nibai nōshuku’ (2倍濃縮, double strength, condensed to ½) requires 1 part of water to 1 part of mentsuyu to make a standard broth.
How to make Brussels Sprouts, Shiitake, and Ham Pasta
There is nothing complicated about making Brussels Sprouts, Shiitake, and Ham Pasta. The key is to get pasta ready and the rest of ingredients ready at the same time. See the video.
- Boil spaghetti to al dente.
- Sauté Brussels sprouts, then sauté shiitake mushrooms and ham.
- Add butter and sauté, then add mentsuyu.
- Mix well ensuring the mentsuyu coats all the ingredients.
- Serve immediately.
It took about 8 minutes to boil my spaghetti to my liking, which is as long as I needed to cook the Brussels sprouts and other ingredients. If your pasta needs a more or less time to cook to al dente, you need to start sautéing the Brussels sprouts later or earlier respectively so that you can be ready to mix in the boiled pasta just in time.
Having said that, you can complete cooking your Brussels sprouts and other ingredients before the pasta is ready. You just need to reheat the frying pan and add the pasta to it when ready.
Sautéing Brussels sprouts brings out their natural sweetness. Paired with the soy-based flavour, the taste of Brussel Sprouts, Shiitake, and Ham Pasta reminds you of a typical Japanese broth flavour. This is indeed a wafū (Japanese-style) pasta.
Watch How To Make It
Brussels Sprouts, Shiitake, and Ham Pasta uses dashi-based flavours, which turns this Italian dish into a Japanese-style pasta. The flavour is similar to my Wafū Mushroom Pasta, but I used a shortcut today for the flavouring by using a condensed noodle broth called mentsuyu. See the video.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 100g/3.5oz spaghetti or other long pasta such as linguine
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200g/7.1oz Brussels sprouts bottom trimmed and halved vertically (note 1)
- 80g/2.8oz ham cut to about 5cm/2” long and 1cm/⅜” wide strips (note 2)
- 50g/1.8oz shiitake mushrooms thinly sliced (note 3)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp mentsuyu (condensed to triple strength, note 4)
Boil a sufficient amount of water in a saucepan, add a large pinch of salt, and cook pasta to al dente per the instructions on the packet (note 5).
Reserve about ¼ cup of water in the saucepan, then drain the pasta.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Put the Brussels sprouts in the pan, cut side down, and cook for about 3 minutes until the cut side of the Brussels sprouts is nicely browned.
Turn the Brussels sprouts over, place a lid on, and reduce the heat to low.
Cook for further 2-3 minutes until the round side of the Brussels sprouts are browned.
Remove the lid. Add shiitake mushrooms and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add ham strips and sauté for for a minute or so.
Add butter to the pan and mix. Add mentsuyu and mix quickly.
Bring the heat up to high. Add the pasta and 1-2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water to the pan.
Quickly mix, ensuring that each strand of spaghetti is coated with the sauce and the vegetables and ham strips are evenly spread.
When there is no liquid left in the bottom of the pan, remove the pan from the heat and serve immediately.
1. The weight of Brussels sprouts is approximate. I used 8 Brussels sprouts that weighed 190g/6.7oz. Depending on the size of your Brussels sprouts, you might have larger/smaller number of them.
2. Any type of leg ham works fine.
3. Instead of shiitake mushrooms, you can use other Asian mushrooms such as shimeji mushrooms or oyster mushrooms.
4. I used a condensed mentsuyu, which required 1 part mentsuyu and 2 parts water to make a standard noodle broth. If your condensed mentsuyu is not triple strength, you need to adjust the quantity of your mentsuyu per below:
- For double strength, increase mentsuyu to 1½ tablespoons. It’s OK to use more than 1 tablespoon as the sauce will condense anyway.
- For 4x strength, use ¾ tablespoon mentsuyu + ¼ tablespoon water.
If you are not using condensed mentsuyu, you can make it by condensing a standard noodle broth:
- Measure 8 parts dashi stock, 1 part soy sauce, and 1 part mirin together.
- Put it in a saucepan, bring it to a boil.
- Continue boiling until the volume of the broth reduces to 1/3 of the original volume.
You may want to make a larger quantity of home-made condensed mentsuyu and keep it in the fridge/freezer for later use.
5. The time required to cook the spaghetti determines when you start sautéing the Brussels sprouts. Sautéing vegetables and ham takes about 8 minutes including flavouring.
If your pasta takes about the same time, you should start cooking vegetables at the same time as putting the pasta in the boiling water.
If your pasta requires much less time to cook, you should sauté vegetables first so that the ingredients are ready when pasta is cooked. Similarly, if your pasta needs longer than 8 minutes to cook, you should wait the extra minutes required to cook the pasta before start sautéing the Brussels sprouts.
6. Nutrition per serving.
serving: 239g calories: 418kcal fat: 16g (21%) saturated fat: 5.2g (26%) trans fat: 0.2g polyunsaturated fat: 1.6g monounsaturated fat: 7.3g cholesterol: 41mg (14%) sodium: 698mg (30%) carbohydrates: 51g (19%) dietary fibre: 6.1g (22%) sugar: 6.4g protein: 20g vitamin D: 0mcg (2%) calcium: 58mg (4%) iron: 3.6mg (20%) potassium: 737mg (16%)