Get ready for a clash of nationalities. This miso chipotle pasta takes Asian, Mexican, and Italian flavors to create an unbelievably delicious dish. This pasta dish is spicy, smokey, and yet surprisingly bright. If you like things spicy, but your tolerance is low this one is for you. Best part? This dish is ready in 20 minutes and takes minimal prep making it a great weeknight dinner.
Chipotles in adobo was my lifeline in college. At a $1.50 a can it was an inexpensive way to add flavor. Oh and did i use it to add flavor. I would put this stuff on everything, chicken, sauces, I even had a dish I called “Mexican lasagna” that heavily relied on the spicy, tangy, smokey flavor of this little magical can. I used chipotles in adobo so much that I needed a break… that lasted several years. Well years later here I am trying to incorporate it into pasta. Truthfully this dish took 4 different tests, and it wasn’t until a 3am ah ha moment of adding in miso that it all came together.
Lets Talk Miso
If you haven’t cooked with miso before it’s time you buy a box. Miso is not just for soup anymore. Alone it’s super salty, funky, toasty, and sometimes sweet. Add it to a dish and it completely transforms it adding a depth of flavor. This recipe calls for white miso however if you are new to miso and have no idea the difference between the varieties i jotted down just a few quick notes to clarify things. Below is a breakdown of miso by color. Note every miso has a technical name (ie. shiro, aka, ect…) but in western culture and recipes a lot of times it referred as the color. If you want to dive deeper into miso i suggest you learn more about the different types of miso beyond the color. These are two great sources to read more, Bon Appétit + Just One Cookbook.
- White Miso – Very mild and sweet. Good for sauces, aiolis, and dressings as well as seafood, chicken, and vegetables.
- Yellow Miso – Mild and earthy. Good for sauces, soups, and marinades.
- Red Miso – Deep umami flavor. Warning this can overwhelm a dish. Use for heartier deeper flavored dishes like heartier soups, heavier sauces (ie. a meat sauce), and braises.
- Black Miso – Strongest flavor miso.
A good general rule of thumb is the darker the color the more intense salty umami flavor.
What You’ll Need For Miso Chipotle Pasta
- Pasta – As always players choice. I love farfalle here, but anything works.
- Shallot – Ah the onion’s less pungent, sweeter friend.
- Garlic – Fresh as always.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Probably the most important ingredient. You can often find a small can in the international food aisle. It is important to pick up the chipotle peppers in adobo, and not just chipotle peppers. Why? The adobo adds a deep smokey flavor to the pasta. It MAKES the sauce.
- Miso Paste – White miso, unless you prefer yellow. I used a Dashi white miso from Miko brand which adds just an extra layer of umami and flavor.
- Cilantro – I know, I over use this herb, but this pasta is SCREAMING for a fresh bright flavor and cilantro just hits the right note. A little cilantro hack, don’t pick the leaves off the steam. Unlike parsley, the cilantro steams are completely edible, in fact the steams have more flavor than the leaves.
- Tomato Paste
- Heavy Cream – You only need a splash, which is annoying if you don’t have heavy cream on hand. A good substitute here is half and half.
Miso Chipotle Pasta
- 1/2 lb pasta
- 2 tbsp butter
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2-3 chipotles in adobo use 2 if spice tolerance is low, minced
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/4 cup cilantro rough chop
- 1 tbsp miso white
- 1/2 cup pasta water reserve 1 cup
- Prepare pasta in salty water as per packing instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Put pasta on the side for later use.
- In a pot on low to medium heat melt the butter. Once melted, add the garlic and shallots. Cook for 3-5 minutes until soft, fragrant but NOT brown.
- Add tomato paste and chipotle peppers. Mix to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, constantly stirring to ensure it doesn't stick and burn.
- Add 3/4 cup of pasta water and mix. Cook down for 3 minutes before adding miso and cilantro. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Reduce down on medium heat until sauce thickens approx. 5 minutes.
- Add heavy cream. Add pasta and combine.