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This spicy umami pasta recipe looks to the pantry for speed and flavor

(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
Spicy Umami Pasta
Active time:35 mins
Total time:35 mins
Servings:2
Active time:35 mins
Total time:35 mins
Servings:2

This is a great example of a pantry pasta, the kind of thing you might be able to throw together without a recipe. But if you’d rather not think about proportions, ratios and what goes with what, here’s a sauce that delivers heat, depth of flavor and buttery richness for a super-satisfying dinner.

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Storage: Refrigerate for up to 4 days.

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Ingredients

  • Fine salt
  • 8 ounces rigatoni, shells or orecchiette-style pasta
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek or chile paste of your choice, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 cup white wine or pasta water, or more as needed
  • 8 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, plus more as needed
  • 2 scallions, chopped, for serving

Step 1

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente, removing it from the heat 1 minute early. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, if using.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chile paste, tomato paste and honey and cook, stirring, until bubbling, about 1 minute more. The sauce will not be smooth due to the thick pastes. Add the white wine or 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, and olives; stir until the sauce is smooth, about 1 minute more.

Step 3

Add the pasta to the sauce. Cook, tossing to coat, until the sauce is thick and the noodles are coated, about 3 minutes. Add more wine or pasta water if the sauce becomes too thick.


Step 4

Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta and toss it one more time to combine. Taste the pasta to make sure it is cooked enough and cook 1 or 2 minutes longer, if needed. Season with salt, if desired.

Step 5

Remove from the heat, sprinkle with chopped scallions and a little more cheese. Serve hot.


Nutrition Information

Per serving (1 generous cup)

Calories: 787; Total Fat: 32 g; Saturated Fat: 17 g; Cholesterol: 63 mg; Sodium: 1045 mg; Carbohydrates: 106 g; Dietary Fiber: 12 g; Sugar: 13 g; Protein: 18 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.


Adapted from “Good Enough" by Leanne Brown (Workman Publishing, 2022).

Tested by Emily Heil; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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