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Spaghetti with Shrimp Paste Tomato Sauce
½ lb
linguine (or bucatini or spaghetti)
½ c
unsalted butter
½ tsp
Add up to 1 teaspoon if desired
*Show Note
garlic cloves, chopped
2 lb
tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
freshly grated pecorino Romano
Spaghetti with Shrimp Paste Tomato Sauce

In this simple pasta sauce, kapi (Thai fermented shrimp paste) subs in for more expensive Italian anchovies. The umami-rich paste is very concentrated, so start by using a conservative amount and add more to taste. If you want a spicier kick, add some chili flakes when heating the kapi and garlic, or mix in black olives and capers right before adding the tomatoes for a Puttanesca-like mixture.

3-4 servings

  1. Cook ½ pound linguine in large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain, reserving ½ cup of cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, toast 1 teaspoon kapi, folded in tin foil, in a large skillet over medium heat until more fragrant, turning once, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan.
  3. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add ½ teaspoon kapi and garlic, mashing the kapi with a spoon to melt into the sauce, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.
  5. Taste the sauce. Add more kapi if needed.
  6. Add pasta to the pan with cooking liquid, stirring to coat the pasta, about 2 minutes. Serve with freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese.

Mari Uyehara

Mari Uyehara is a food and travel writer based in Brooklyn. She was previously a senior editor at Saveur, the food & drink editor at Time Out New York, and the food editor of Martha Stewart Living Radio.