The Washington Post

Miso-Parmesan Pasta With Chili Crisp

Miso-Parmesan Pasta With Chili Crisp 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Aug 4, 2020

This flavor bomb of a sauce (miso! Parmesan! chicken stock! fermented bean paste! spicy chili crisp!) supercharges everything it touches. You can adjust the amount of paste and crisp to taste. Much of the excitement here is in trying to figure out whether you’re eating a Japanese dish or an Italian one. The sauce is eminently versatile: Toss it with linguine (and a shower of chopped green onions and crumbled nori) for a zesty twist on carbonara. The sauce also tastes great over roasted broccoli or cauliflower, or drizzled atop grilled chicken.

Make Ahead: The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. To reheat, warm over low heat, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of broth or pasta water until the mixture re-emulsifies. Then add the pasta and broth, following the recipe as directed.

Storage Notes: Leftover pasta can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, add the pasta to a skillet over low heat. Warm, adding broth or reserved pasta water about 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.

Where to Buy: Miso, doenjang (Korean fermented bean paste) and spicy chili crisp can be found at international grocery stores, well stocked supermarkets and online.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or another neutral oil
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped (about 2 ounces)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1 tablespoon mild doenjang (Korean fermented bean paste)
  • 3 tablespoons spicy chili crisp, such as Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 17 twists freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound linguine
  • Chopped scallions, for garnish
  • Crumbled nori, for garnish


In a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the miso and doenjang and stir until it resembles a loose paste that can be moved around easily in the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Add the chili crisp and chili oil and stir to combine.Add the chicken stock and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens so that a spoon leaves a wide trail when dragged through, about 5 minutes. 

Reduce the heat to low. Add the cheese, a few generous pinches at a time, stirring continuously until it becomes a smooth sauce. Season with pepper, taste and add more salt, if desired. Keep the sauce over a very low heat, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the pasta.

In a large pot, add enough salted water to cover the pasta by about 1 1/2 inches (the more water you add, the more you dilute your chance at the cloudy starch water you want). Bring to a boil over high heat, add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions suggest. Drain, reserving the pasta water. (If you have leftover pasta with the sauce, you will want the reserved pasta water for reheating.)

Raise the heat under the skillet to medium-low. Transfer the drained pasta to the skillet and toss in the sauce until combined. Add about 1/4 cup of the pasta water and stir the sauce-covered pasta for 1 minute. The sauce will become somewhat looser. This is what you want — a wetter sauce where your pasta cooks to al dente. Repeat this process two more times, allowing 1 full minute of mixing between the additions of water, for a total of 3 minutes. The starchy water will act as a binder, enabling the sauce to cling to the noodle.

Remove the skillet from the heat and let the pasta cool for 2 minutes. For little more oomph, garnish with a handful of finely diced scallions and/or crumbled nori.

NOTE: If you plan to reheat the sauce, reserve pasta water.

Rate it

Recipe Source

From writer Todd Kliman.

Tested by Ann Maloney.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Avg. Rating (9)

Rate this recipe

Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 439

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 26g 40%

Saturated Fat: 6g 30%

Cholesterol: 48mg 16%

Sodium: 1151mg 48%

Total Carbohydrates: 33g 11%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 7g

Protein: 18g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle