Chef Quealy Watson draws from a diverse range of Asian influences (from Thai Red Curry to Spam Fried Rice) at his San Antonio restaurant Hot Joy, but at home he often incorporates fish sauce into traditional Italian dishes. “I took Latin for four years and read most of Apicius [a collection of recipes from ancient Rome], “ Quealy says. “After seeing the prevalence of garum, a fermented fish sauce, in ancient Roman cooking, using fish sauce in Italian food just made sense. It’s essentially anchovy juice, and who doesn’t like anchovies?”

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Hands-on: 21 min. Total: 21 min.

“I’ve been hooked, pun intended, on fish sauce for quite a while,” says Watson. “Its aroma can be off-putting, to say the least, but once the smell is attached to the incredible flavor, you’ll find a reason to use it in everything.”

10 ounces refrigerated fresh spaghetti noodles
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 dried red Chinese chiles, seeded and sliced into rings
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fried garlic

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat; add pasta to pan. Cook 1 to 3 minutes or until al dente. Drain, reserving 12 cup cooking liquid.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add garlic to pan. Cook 30 seconds or until lightly browned. Add chiles to pan; cook 1 minute or until chiles are fragrant. Stir in lemon juice, fish sauce, and reserved pasta water; bring to a boil. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until reduced and saucy. Add pasta and salt to pan; toss well to coat. Sprinkle evenly with basil, parsley, and fried garlic.

SERVES 4 (serving size: about 1 cup) CALORIES 381; FAT 20.1g (sat 2.7g, mono 13.3g, poly 2.6g); PROTEIN 9g; CARB 41g; FIBER 3g; SUGARS 1g; CHOL 52mg; IRON 3mg; SODIUM 554mg; CALC 24mg