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A whole new way to enjoy your favorite Italian foods—inspired by the flavors of Japan

Wafu Italian is one of the latest food trends that’s sweeping the nation. And if you haven’t heard of it yet, trust us—you will soon.

So, what’s it all about? “Wafu” is a Japanese word meaning “Japanese-style,” and Wafu Italian is a kind of restaurant cooking popularized by chefs in Japan who reimagine Italian dishes through a Japanese lens. They use Japanese cooking techniques and ingredients like soy sauce, sesame oil, ponzu, mirin and miso to add flavor, umami and mouthwatering appeal to traditional Italian dishes.

The goal of Wafu Italian is to seamlessly blend flavors and ideas so that you simply can’t tell if the dish is Italian or Japanese — it’s truly the best of both worlds.

These days, American chefs like Robbie Felice of PastaRamen in New Jersey are spreading the word about the wonders of Wafu, and Japanese-Italian dishes are showing up on restaurant menus across America.

But the trend isn’t just for chefs. It’s easy to enjoy at home—especially with a little help from Kikkoman. We’ve put together a collection of easy Wafu Italian recipes to get you started and inspire your next meal.

Give any of them a try and you’ll discover this delicious umami secret: Used in just the right proportions, ingredients like Kikkoman® Soy Sauce, Less Sodium Soy Sauce, Sriracha and Rice Vinegar can make Italian food way more delizioso.

Ready to Wafu your way? Here’s a preview of a few of the recipes in our new collection:

Wafu Italian Meatballs

These classic beef, pork and veal (or turkey) meatballs in a rich tomato sauce are great as a main course, piled on a hoagie roll or served over spaghetti. Kikkoman® Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce add rich flavor to the tomato sauce, while our Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce, Sweet Soy Glaze, Sesame Oil and more add mouthwatering umami to the meatballs. 

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Fusilli with Mushrooms in Sesame Soy Butter

In this rich, creamy pasta, created by Wafumaestro Chef Robbie Felice, the natural umami found in mushrooms is enhanced by two other umami-rich ingredients: Parmesan cheese, and, you guessed it, Kikkoman® Soy Sauce! This might just be the best mushroom pasta you’ve ever tasted. 

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Late Summer Vegetable Pesto Pasta

A splash of Kikkoman® Rice Vinegar brightens this classic basil pesto sauce and brings out the flavors of pan-grilled summer veggies, like zucchini, sweet corn and shallots. 

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10-Ingredient Italian Sausage and Lentil Soup

Here’s an Italian-style soup that’s so hearty it’s a meal in a bowl. It tastes like it simmered all day, even though it’s ready in less than an hour—thanks to the extra umami boost it gets from Kikkoman® Less Sodium Soy Sauce.

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Italian Sausage and Kale Rigatoni

Perfect for a festa with friends and family—but easy enough to whip up on a weeknightthis hearty pasta gets an extra kick of umami from Kikkoman® Soy Sauce, which adds savory depth and brings out the meaty flavor of Italian sausages (sweet or spicy, your call!).

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