pasta sushi 1

For years Japan has been toying around with combining its signature flavors with the many different cuisines of the world. Japan even has its own take on pasta that they call Japanese-style pasta (和風パスタ). Wouldn’t it be fair for Italian chefs to experiment with Japanese cuisine? Two chefs in Italy have been putting their personal touches to the idea of sushi, and their pasta sushi creation is now starting to make some noise in the US and on the Internet.

While Italian cooking might not be on the World Heritage list with French and Japanese, there is still plenty of history and big flavor that Italian chefs can be proud of. Italian and Japanese cooking do share something in common though; both of them play up the use of fresh seafood.

When it comes to raw fish, Japan has the famous heavy hitters like sashimi and sushi. However, Italy has some equally delicious dishes like carpaccio and crudo. It doesn’t seem like a far leap to put an Italian spin on such an internationally recognizable food such as sushi. And about five years ago, Michelin-starred Italian chefs Moreno Cedroni and Davide Scabin did just that. But this “pasta sushi” only recently gained popularity in the US thanks to author Francine Segan who wrote about the latest trends in food creativity in Italy.

The dish itself is fairly simple and very easy to improvise. You simply cook pasta al dente and then season it with something acidic, just like you would sushi rice. Then you can fill the pasta with fresh fish and other sushi toppings. The adventurous chef doesn’t have to stop there; you can fill these Italian sushi with whatever you want, from natto to blue cheese, California Roll style to Spicy Tuna Roll style.

Raw fish goes in here.

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The big question remains, can you really call it sushi?

Most purists out there would probably say, “No”. If there isn’t rice, you can’t call it sushi. Many Japanese Internet users feel the same way, saying things like:

“It looks really good but I don’t think it’s the same. It’s like a relative of sushi.”
“It’s just a new food. (Not anything related to sushi.)”
“It’s not sushi, more like tacos.”
“It’s not sushi, just seafood pasta.”
“I think it looks pretty cute, but it’s not sushi.”

Many other users were just excited by the idea and wanted to try it themselves.

“It would be really delicious if it was dipped in basil sauce.”
“Foods that go well with rice definitely go well with pasta too.”
“I want to eat it with lots of soy sauce.”
“It looks like it has a springy texture.”
“This is good. We have variations of food too, like fish roe spaghetti.”
“It looks good. If it’s good, who cares what it’s called?”

Of course, one commenter took the discussion to a whole different level with, “It’s kinda erotic.” Erotic or not, it looks pretty delicious, and definitely something you could do in your own home. Turn your next party into a food-cation to Italy and Japan with the fusion dish known as pasta sushi! Let us know your favorite fillings in the comments below.

Source: Itai News
Images: Francine Segan, Flickr (Photo Graham