- Prepare the fresh ingredients: Prepare and chop/slice the Asian red shallots, garlic, chilies (if using), cherry tomatoes, Thai sweet basil leaves, and mint leaves as indicated in the ‘ingredients’ section.
For the XO Sauce Pasta with Pork & Burst Cherry Tomatoes:
- Cook the pasta: In a pot of boiling salted water (or use the same deep sauté pan you’ll use to make the sauce), cook the pasta 2 minutes shy of al-dente according to package instructions (2 minutes less than the cook time specified on the package). Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain into a colander and run cold water over the pasta to halt the cooking process and prevent sticking.
- Sauté the aromatics: Heat 1.5 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is frothing and the oil is hot, add the shallots and garlic. Sauté for a minute until the shallots have softened and the garlic is fragrant, but not browned. Add the red chilies and sauté for another 30 seconds to combine.
- Cook the pork: Add the ground pork and season with ½ TSP kosher salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes, breaking up the clumps with your spatula, until just cooked through.
- Cook the cherry tomatoes: Push the pork to the edges of the pan and add the cherry tomatoes in the center. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring the tomatoes occasionally and pressing down on them gently until they begin to burst and the juices they release begins to form into a sauce.
- Build the sauce: Pour in the dry white wine and add the miso paste and low sodium light soy sauce. Stir vigorously to combine until the miso paste dissolves. Simmer for 1-2 minutes until the wine reduces by half. Add the XO sauce and season with freshly cracked black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, ground cayenne, smoked paprika, and remaining ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Stir everything until combined well.
- Add the pasta: Add the bucatini pasta and ½ cup of reserved pasta water. Increase the heat to high and toss continuously for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and coats the pasta well.
- Stir through herbs: Stir through the sliced Thai sweet basil (reserve ¼ cup for garnish) and mint leaves, then switch off the heat.
- To Serve: Divide the pasta evenly into bowls/plates. Garnish generously with plenty of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and the reserved sliced Thai sweet basil leaves. Serve immediately and enjoy!