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Stomping to make fresh pasta good for chomping

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Pomodoro pasta with fresh vegetables at Konkitchen in Aomori

By Shun Nemoto / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterAOMORI — If you want to eat fresh pasta in Aomori, seek out Konkitchen in a residential area near Aomori University.

The Italian restaurant has a refreshing mint green exterior and is run by the owner and chef Kazumi Kon, 39, and his wife, Chie, 33.

The signature fresh pasta takes Kon at least two days to make.

At lunchtime, a homemade fresh pasta lunch costs ¥900. For ¥1,000, the pasta comes with sliced baguette and soup.

I ordered the pomodoro pasta, which uses fresh seasonal vegetables. What was served looked beautiful with its vivid contrast of three colors: green leafy vegetables, red tomato sauce and white balls of cheese. The pasta had a springy, chewy texture, which went well with the sauce that boasted the flavors of tomatoes and onions, as well as rich cheese.

The dish included shungiku garland chrysanthemum and cavolo nero (Tuscan kale). Thanks to the shungiku’s generous aroma, as well as the cavolo nero’s bitterness and texture, I didn’t feel tired of the sauce. I was absorbed in eating, only to find I had finished the dish so soon.

“No matter how busy you are, I hope you value the time spent to enjoy a meal,” Kon said.

From an early age, Kon grew up eating dishes prepared by his grandmother and mother, feeling their affection from those dishes. He nurtured a passion to be a great cook in the future. When he was in junior high school, the young Kon began to make bento boxed meals on his own. He then studied cooking during high school.

After graduating from high school, Kon trained at various places, including a ramen shop, an udon noodle eatery and an Italian restaurant, before opening Konkitchen in December 2013.

When preparing pasta, Kon makes use of his time working at the udon restaurant by not just kneading the pasta dough with his hands, but also stomping it with his feet.

“If you put your weight firmly on the dough, the pasta can get a pleasantly firm texture,” the chef said.

The restaurant is located in Aomori’s Kobata district, the two kanji characters for Kobata literally meaning “happy field.”

“As the name suggests, I hope I will continue to serve dishes featuring vegetables that farmers grow through their affection,” Kon said.

Konkitchen

Open: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m (last order); 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (last order)

Closed: Irregularly

Address: 2-1-2 Kobata, Aomori

Phone: (017) 752-6544

Credit cards accepted only for dinner

To find out more about Japan’s attractions, visit http://the-japan-news.com/news/d&d

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