I'm all for spicing up an already spicy dish, especially when East Asian flavors are packing the heat. This dish came out of both necessity and last minute inspiration. No tomato paste? No problem!
*Note: The distinct ingredient in the recipe, gochujang, can be found at any Asian market, if not in your local mega-mart. If it proves to be too elusive, sambal would be the most appropriate substitute. —PieceOfLayerCake
4 - 6
dry long pasta (spaghetti, bucatini, thick rice noodles, soba, etc.)
small scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
large shallot, minced
small fresno chile, seeded, deveined and minced
large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 - 2 tablespoons
gochujang (Korean chile paste)*
28 oz. can, whole tomatoes
soy sauce or tamari, plus more for serving
juice of 1 small lime
small bunch, Thai basil, sliced into thin ribbons
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the white parts of the scallion and the shallot and stir-fry with a wooden spoon until just beginning to soften. Add the chile and garlic and cook, stirring constantly until just cooked, about 1 minute.
Lower the heat to medium and the gochujang to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the gochujang darkens slightly in color, about 2 minutes. This step will deepen its rich flavor and temper its sharp spice slightly. Crush the tomatoes between your hands slightly and add to the pan. Stir the ingredients together and continue to smash the tomatoes with the spoon. Add in the soy and fish sauce and simmer over medium low heat for 15 - 20 minutes, or until reduced slightly. Water can be added to adjust consistency.
Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add a generous handful of salt and drop in the pasta. Cook according to the instructions on your chosen noodle variety. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ c. of the cooking water. Do not rinse.
Set a large skillet on the stove and allow to heat on medium for a couple minutes. Add a few cups of the sauce to the pan and then add the pasta. Stir constantly, cooking the sauce and the pasta together. Add more sauce and as much of the the pasta water as necessary to achieve desired coverage and consistency (leftover sauce can be frozen for up to 1 month). Add a tablespoon or so of the lime juice, the scallion greens and a small handful of the Thai basil, tossing to incorporate.
Serve, passing the Thai basil and soy sauce for garnish.