Happy Donabe Life

Eggplant & Shiitake Linguine

This donabe dish is something I can whip up with ingredients I can usually find in my kitchen on a regular night. Eggplant and shiitake mushrooms are simply cooked in a donabe and finished with canned cherry tomatoes (you can use regular canned tomato or tomato purée). It’s rich in umami as I use sake and shio-koji for seasoning for a little Japanese kick, but you can do without also. I love to use my Roast Donabe, which is dry-heating capable and also equipped with extra-thick body and sturdy flat lid. With these features, this donabe promotes extra pressure and steaming effect and the ingredients can cook faster and very effectively with minimum liquid. This is a hearty and delicious vegan dish if you go without cheese (or use vegan cheese). I love adding the Parmigiano Reggiano at the end! 

Vegan option

Omit Parmigiano Reggiano or substitute with vegan cheese

Roast Donabe is used in this recipe. Any donabe with enough depth can be used but especially with extra thick body kind is recommended (linked here.)




  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly-sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed chili pepper (or red pepper flakes)
  • 1 medium large eggplant, cut into cubes
  • 5 oz (150 g) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons sake (or just water)
  • 8 oz (240 g) canned cherry tomatoes (half can)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons shio-koji (can substitute with 1 teaspoon sea salt)
  • Basil
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 3 – 4 servings linguine or your choice of pasta, cooked al dente right before serving


  1. Heat the evoo in a donabe over moderate heat and add the garlic. Sauté over medium-heat until fragrant (30-60 seconds) Add the onion and chili, and continue to sauté for a few minutes. 
  2. Add the eggplant and cover with lid. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes, and stir a few times meanwhile. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes or until the eggplants are evenly cooked and soft (stir sometimes, meanwhile). 
  3. Deglaze with the sake, and once the sake is reduced, add the tomatoes and shio-koji. If the sauce becomes too thick, add some water.
  4. Chop some basil leaves and add to the sauce. Adjust the seasoning with some sea salt (if necessary) and black pepper. Stir in some Parmigiano Reggiano. Add the pasta and mix well, or divide the pasta into plates and pour the sauce over pasta. Whichever way you like is good!

The sauce is ready in very simple steps.

Add the cooked pasta and add to the sauce to mix.

This umami-rich pasta dish is quite addictive.

You can also pour the sauce directly over the pasta to serve, if you like.


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