Shiso Pesto Udon

When I come up with fusion recipes, I like to think beyond adding just one foreign ingredient to a classic dish and calling it fusion cuisine. It needs to be a bit more than that. What other ingredients can be substituted? What do the different cultures of the fusion dish have to offer each other? These questions led me to develop this Shiso Pesto Udon with Edamame beans and soy glazed Shiitake mushrooms. The Shiitake mushrooms added an extra dimension to act in place of sun-dried tomatoes, which are not typically found in authentic pesto pasta recipes but actually add a serious amount of umami to the palate!

This is where “Ciao” meets “Konnichiwa”. I used Japanese Shiso leaves in my typical Italian pesto and remembered that I had some very special Inaniwa Udon noodles from when I was in Japan. I also had some leftover soy glazed Shiitake mushrooms and boiled some some Edamame beans to accentuate the fresh, green nature of the dish (and raise the protein content of the dish).

Let’s get down to business…

  • Ingredients
    • 50g green Shiso leaves
    • 50g fresh Italian basil
    • 40g grated parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 3 Tbsp pine nuts (or cashews or walnuts)
    • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
    • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Method:
    1. Add all of the ingredients into a small blender apart from the oil.
    2. Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil to the blender and start pulsing the ingredients together.
    3. Gradually add 4 to 5 tablespoons of oil between pulses until all of the oil is used and you end up with a fragrant, green and creamy pesto.
    4. Add to your favorite freshly boiled pasta and enjoy!

Please don’t expose the pesto to direct heat or it may quickly lose its vibrant green color. Just stir it into the hot pasta or in the pan over the residual heat from boiling the pasta.

Think of Shiso as peppermint’s big cousin. This pesto is a lot more pungent and refreshing than what you may be used to! Don’t say I didn’t warn you, because I think that you will fall in love with it. 💚


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