If you just came home from a long, stressful day at work and you’re starving, and all you want is to sit on the couch and eat something incredibly delicious and comforting and watch bad TV, this is the dish for you. And if, on top of all that, you have kids to feed? This is STILL the dish for you. The sauce is layered with rich, roasty nuttiness from toasted sesame oil, sweet, umami-rich miso, and lots of allium goodness from scallions and garlic, all made silky and spoonable with butter and Parmesan.

My daughter Becky’s review: “Amazing. Buh-ro. No words except for amazing and bro. I didn’t know something this amazing could actually exist.”


WNK-Anything's Pastable-cover photo Anything's Pastable Dan Pashman
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 pound small or medium pasta shells

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 12 scallions, thinly sliced, dark green parts separated

  • 1/4 cup white or yellow miso (see tip)

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) finely grated Parmesan

  • Roasted sesame seeds, for serving (see tip)


1. Bring 4 quarts of water and the salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than the low end of the package instructions. Reserve 2 ½ cups of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Immediately return the pasta to the pot, cover, and set aside.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter and the sesame oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the edges just begin to color, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the white and light green parts of the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the scallions have softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups of the pasta water, all but 1/3 cup of the dark green parts of the scallions, and the miso and stir until the miso dissolves, about 30 seconds. Whisking constantly, add the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting for each tablespoon to melt before adding the next.

3. Pour the miso butter mixture into the pot with the pasta, scraping out the skillet. Place the pot over medium heat, add another 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and stir vigorously until the sauce is glossy and clings to the pasta, 2 to 4 minutes. (If the sauce seems too thick, add more pasta water 2 tablespoons at a time until it’s the consistency of heavy cream and pools slightly at the bottom of the pot. If it looks too thin, continue stirring over the heat until the sauce clings to and coats the pasta.) Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Parmesan until fully incorporated.

4. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl or individual bowls, sprinkle generously with sesame seeds and the reserved scallion greens, and serve.

MISO TIP: If you don’t frequently cook with miso, don’t worry about ending up with a lot after making this. It’s fermented, so it lasts a very long time, and is a key ingredient in countless delicious dishes, including the Linguine with Miso Clam Sauce on page 138. It’s also a perfect way to take a plain old jar of tomato sauce to the next level, as detailed in the Jarred Tomato Sauce Decision Tree on page 30!

SESAME SEEDS TIP: Most sesame seeds at the grocery store are raw, but you can find packaged roasted sesame seeds at your local Asian market or H Mart, or online. Or you can toast raw sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until golden, shaking the pan often and watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn, 2 to 4 minutes. 

From Anything’s Pastable by Dan Pashman. Copyright © 2024 by Sporkful, LLC. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.  

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