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.
- Cook ½ pound linguine in large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain, reserving ½ cup of cooking water.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add tomatoes, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.
- Taste the sauce. Add more kapi if needed.
- 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 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.