Creamy, cheesy miso pasta

Creamy, cheesy miso pasta

On the days that I have to go into the office, I simply can’t bother to cook anything that takes longer than 30 minutes. And that’s why I love cooking pasta. One of my go-to recipes is this creamy, cheesy miso pasta. It’s like an elevated mac and cheese, but it has a depth of umami from the white miso that makes it memorable. And the best part is that is only takes about 15 minutes to make – let’s go! 

About the ingredients

Pasta: You can use any long pasta for this recipe. But I prefer spaghetti and bucatini. Make sure to cook this al dente so it has a nice bite when eating. 

Pasta water: Essential for this recipe, the starch from the pasta water helps emulsify the miso and butter into a loose sauce and aids in the melting of the cheese. 

Cheese: I recommend using Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) for this dish because it has a nutty and complex flavor. 

Miso: Is a thick paste produced by fermenting soybeans with salt. It comes in a white or red variety. I like to use white miso for this recipe. It’s pretty salty, so when you add it to this dish, you don’t need to add any more salt.

Butter: This is used to build the base of your sauce. Melt the butter until it gets foamy, and then add in your miso and you’re ready to rock n’rock with the rest of your sauce making.

Cream: A ¼ cup of heavy cream adds a rich texture to this dish that sort of reminds me of Alfredo sauce.

Lemon zest: I grate this on during plating. The essence from the lemon zest helps cut through the richness of the cheese and cream and makes the dish feel a bit lighter.  

Garnish: I like to garnish with red pepper flakes and some parsley or thyme. If you want to stick with the Asian theme, you can top the pasta off with furikake,  

What’s the difference between white and red miso?

Both white and red miso are delicious fermented soybean pastes used in Japanese cuisine, but they have some key differences.

Color: The most obvious difference is their color. White miso is pale yellow or cream, while red miso is a deep reddish brown.

Ingredients: The color difference comes from the soybeans used and the fermentation process. White miso is made with soybeans only, while red miso blends soybeans with koji rice and barley. The koji introduces reddish mold spores that contribute to the color and deeper, earthier flavor of red miso.

Flavor: White miso is mild, sweet, and slightly salty, making it a versatile ingredient for soups, dressings, marinades, and glazes. Red miso is more robust, saltier, and umami-rich, often used in heartier dishes like stews, braises, and sauces.

Maturation: White miso is typically fermented for a shorter time (3-6 months) compared to red miso, which can ferment for up to two years. This longer aging intensifies the flavor and umami depth of red miso.

Uses: Both white and red miso are culinary chameleons, but their distinct profiles lend themselves to different applications. White miso shines in delicate dishes like miso soup and tofu scrambles, while red miso brings depth and complexity to stews, glazes, and marinades.

Hungry Bengali: Creamy, cheesy miso pasta 

Creamy miso pasta overhead shot

Serves: 4 to 6 people 
Cook time: About 15 minutes 


  • 1 tablespoon of salt (to flavor the pasta water)
  • 16 ounces spaghetti, linguine or bucatini
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white miso
  • ¼ cup of pasta water (or as needed)
  • ¼ cup of heavy cream 
  • 4 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (1 packed cup)
  • Pinch of thyme or parsley 
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest 
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper 
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes 


Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once you have a roaring boil, salt the water before adding in your pasta. Cook the pasta based on package instructions – until the noodles reach al dente, which has a slight bite to the pasta. Make sure to reserve at least a cup of pasta water. 

Spaghetti in water

While the pasta cooks, start making the sauce. This happens very fast. Add your butter to a pan heated medium-low and let it become foamy. 

Butter melting a foamy in pan

Then add your miso and break it up in the butter and stir, make sure the miso doesn’t burn by adding a little olive oil to the pain. 

Miso added to the butter

Crack in a lot of fresh black pepper and let it get toasty in the pan for a few seconds. Add in a ladle of pasta water, it will cause the sauce to sizzle. The water should evaporate very quickly. 

Pasta water added to butter and miso mixture

At this point, the pasta should be done. Add it into the sauce and coat the noodles in the butter and miso mixture. 

Pasta added to butter and miso mixture

After the noodles are coated, shift the heat to low. Then pour in your grated cheese and herbs. Toss everything. Add pasta water as needed. The sauce should be a little loose.

Grated cheese added to noodles
Once everything is incorporated, finish the sauce with some cream and mix it all together. Cut the heat at this point.

Pasta tossed in cream sauce

Now you’re ready to plate this up. I like to twirl the pasta onto a plate and top it with lemon zest, herbs, red pepper flakes, and a little more cheese. 

Pasta plated up and garnished with herbs and lemon zest

It’s hard to keep this dish for more than a few days because everyone eats it up. But if you have leftovers, it should last in the refrigerator for 3 days. Enjoy!

Pasta served up

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it by adding a comment below!

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