Nourish: Creamy Mushroom Udon

NourishNovember 22, 2023

Nourish: Creamy Mushroom Udon

Moving into the thick of holiday season we take special care to appreciate simple meals at home. Next in our NOURISH series, we’re excited to share a recipe for Creamy Mushroom Udon – a cozy, decadent vegetarian meal that requires only a handful of ingredients. 

A play on an Italian classic with Japanese elements, a pasta noodle might be the expected starch in this dish. However, the substitution for udon noodles gives this dish a tender and chewy texture while the natural starch from the udon makes for a velvety sauce. The mushrooms give this vegetarian dish umami and depth while a small amount of cream instantly creates a rich sauce.  

For our version we used a medley of shimeji mushrooms and fresh shiitake.  But feel free to use any seasonal mushroom you prefer. Keep in mind the flavor of the dish is dependent on the mushrooms and how you cook them so you want to choose meaty flavorful varieties. If you have access to wild mushrooms, these will always be the most flavorful option albeit the most expensive. When you cook your mushrooms make sure not to crowd your pan otherwise your mushrooms will release too much water proportionally to your pan and you’ll end up boiling your mushrooms rather than sauteing them. Taking your time with your mushrooms as you brown them in butter makes a difference in the ultimate taste of your dish. When your mushrooms are cooked they should still retain their shape rather than becoming brown mush.

To make the most of your mushrooms, use the same pan you used to cook your mushrooms to make your sauce. Add your dashi stock and scape down on the browned mushroom bits to serve as the base of your cream sauce. While the pan is still hot, all you need to do is add butter and heavy cream, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens so the cream doesn’t scorch.

When your sauce is seasoned to your taste, add the udon noodles and toss until well combined. Add in ¾ of the cooked mushrooms, reserving a few pieces for garnishing.  We like to finish this dish with just a little green to brighten up the palette of this very brown dish. In this case we used minced chives but you could easily substitute parsley or basil or thyme. For even more added richness, we like to top off this dish with a raw egg yolk, added in at the last minute when the noodles are still hot so the yolk thickens just a little and emulsifies with the mushroom sauce.

Creamy Mushroom Udon Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of mushrooms of your choice (we used shimeji mushrooms and shiitake) 
  • 1 tablespoon of sake
  • 4 tablespoons of butter 
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce 
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped 
  • Black pepper to season 
  • 1 bunch of chives
  • 1/4 cup of dashi 
  • ½ cup of cream 
  • 2 packets of fresh udon

Steps

  1. (In a hot pan, with half the butter, add in all of the mushrooms. Let it sit and occasionally stir for 2—3 minutes or until the mushroom is soft and fragrant. Add the sake. And let the mushrooms cook through. Add the finely chopped garlic. 
  2. Once the mushrooms are fragrant and soft, add the 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and minced garlic. Sauté together for 1—2 minutes. 
  3. Pour in dashi stock, let it sizzle for 1—2 minutes, and slowly add cream/milk. Pour it in slowly and keep stirring to make sure everything is mixed well. 
  4. Boil the noodles on the side according to cooking instructions, when al dente, add the udon into the pan with the creamy mushroom mixture.
  5. Let the udon sit in the sauce and cook for 2 minutes.

    *Optional: add 1 knob of butter to finish to make the dish extra creamy. Top with chives and sesame seeds.

    *Another optional step is to serve the udon with a raw egg yolk eat it together.

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