Tender Japanese mushrooms like shiitake, enkoi and shimeji eringi are a great substitute for meat in the humble spag, adding great flavour and texture.




Skill level

Average: 3.9 (116 votes)


  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup water for 15 minutes
  • 200 g mixed fresh Japanese mushrooms (enoki, shiitake, shimeji eringi), coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 25 g butter
  • ½ brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and black pepper, to season
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 150 ml thickened cream
  • 500 g spaghetti
  • 90 g (2 cups) baby spinach leaves
  • 25 g (¼ cup) grated parmesan cheese

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Drain the soaked shiitake mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Discard the stems and thinly slice the caps.
  2. Place all the fresh chopped mushrooms on a plate and microwave on High for 4 minutes.
  3. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter, then add the onion and fry for 1 minute. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
  4. Increase the heat to high. Add the chopped mushrooms, sliced dried shiitake mushrooms and a pinch of salt and fry for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are browned. Add the sake, soy sauce, cream and a little of the shiitake soaking liquid and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the packet directions until al dente. Transfer the spaghetti straight from the cooking water to the frying pan with the mushroom mixture along with about 60 ml (¼ cup) of the pasta water. Add the spinach and toss until wilted. Serve scattered with parmesan cheese and a grind of black pepper.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.