When you think of Italian food, Japan doesn't initially rush to the front of the line in my mind. But, in true Japanese fashion not only can you find very traditionally prepared Italian dishes, you will find dishes influenced by fresh local ingredients. At its core, isn't that what cooking Italian is? A cuisine driven by fresh simplicity paired with great drink and company.
In Noda City, Japan, there is a restaurant that portrays this example perfectly and that's Comesta. Owned by Mr. Watanabe, with a sister restaurant in Tokyo, Comesta, under head chef Ota offers guests a taste of Italian flavors built on the local.
Here, chef Ota uses moromi (a mash from the fermentation of soy sauce) in his bolognese. Moromi is a sweet, salty umami bomb and adds a new dimension to sauces...really whatever its on. A slice of pizza with moromi bolognese, mozzarella, and leek...sounds alright to me!
Gnocchi With Moromi Bolognese
After an introduction to Mr. Watanabe, I was invited into the kitchen at Comesta to work side by side with chef Ota. Keeping with simple and fresh, I created a dish that reminded me of home, something to share. A light ricotta gnocchi bolognese with moromi, richness cut by lemon dressed mitsuba and leak. Delicious and quickly received approval from the guests and staff. Where can I get moromi back home is my only question?
Peter A Milano
Eat, Drink, and Explore from chef Peter's blog about his food experiences, recipes, and travel.