Ages ago I saw Chrissy Teigen make her miso carbonara (from her cookbook) on her Insta stories. It looked absolutely dreamy. I bookmarked it to make one day in the distant future when I imagined I would actually have miso paste lying around. Well, friends, it soon became apparent that the pandemic was not magically going away in the summer and I – like everyone else – hunkered down. I bought a huge tub of miso and it became my greatest pandemic discovery. I’ve used it in just about everything, from banana bread to popcorn, and now I’ve finally used it in pasta. While this is not the carbonara that originally caught my eye, this miso spaghetti from The New York Times is absolutely delicious, very creamy, and about as easy as it gets.
You need but 5 ingredients to make this dish. And that’s not 5 ingredients where each ingredient is made of 3 other ingredients and requires a lot of prep. Nope. Just 5. Zero prep. (Note: I was in the mood to make fresh spaghetti so I did that…but that’s not necessary at all.) Cook 16 oz. spaghetti until al dente, saving 1 1/2 c. pasta water before draining it into a colander. (Note: I drained off the water but kept the pasta in the pot and made the sauce right in there. It worked, but I don’t recommend it because you’ll need to do some serious whisking with this sauce, which is far more difficult with the pasta in there.) To the pot, add 6 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp miso, and 1 1/4 cups pasta water. Whisk whisk whisk over medium heat until the miso breaks down and you’ve got yourself a nice smooth liquid (1-2 min). Add the pasta back to the pot and toss in 4 oz grated parm (1 packed cup) and cook until the parmesan melds with your buttery miso liquid to create a velvety sauce. At this point you’ll need to toss/stir pretty seriously with tongs so your sauce doesn’t get clumpy. Plate it up by topping with some furikake seasoning.
If Chrissy made carbonara, I made cacio e pepe. And, just like cacio e pepe, this pasta gives off ultimate comfort food vibes but with a lil “hmmm what IS that?” That’s umami, FYI.