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.
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.
A good general rule of thumb is the darker the color the more intense salty umami flavor.
Prepare the Pasta – Prepare the pasta in salty water, think heavy, heavy pinch as per packing instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining. You won’t need all the pasta water but it is always good to save more than you need, just in case. Put pasta on the side for later use.
Make the Sauce – In a pan over low – medium heat melt the butter. Once melted, add the garlic and shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes until soft, fragrant but not brown. Add the tomato paste and chipotle peppers. Mix to combine. Cook for 3-5 minutes, constantly stirring to ensure it doesn’t stick and burn. Pour in 3/4 cup of pasta water, followed by adding the cilantro. Reduce until desired consistency, no more than 5-7 minutes. If you take it too far add more pasta water. Add pasta, and toss to coat.
This pasta can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container. Save that 1/4 cup of pasta water! Fill up ice cubes 1/2 way (for smaller amounts), and freeze. When ready to reheat pop this pasta in a pan on low heat with a cube at a time until the pasta is warm and the sauce has loosened. Or use the microwave, that always works, not as well, but it gets the job done.