This recipe is great because it's easy, quick and family-friendly. Kids love pasta so much, so I wanted to try and give it a different kind of flavor for them instead of regular spaghetti. Just make sure to taste the chili jam before adding it in (if you don't make it yourself), as some are sweeter than others. You can turn down the heat for the kids and turn it up for the adults — it's good for everyone!
Technique tip: You can find chili jam in a jar or you can make your own. Sometimes I quick-fry the dried chili and crumble the pieces (or even leave it whole!) as a topping for a more toasted flavor.
Swap option: You can use all kinds of pasta. I would definitely sprinkle some chili flakes if you want more heat. Sometimes when I'm using jarred sauce, I'll just add some brown sugar (and some MSG!) for a different kind of sweet-savory flavor.
In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering-hot. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the panko and cook until golden, 2-3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.2.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti just shy of al dente. Drain well, reserving some of the pasta water (1/4 cup should be plenty).3.
Place the pan used to toast the panko over medium heat. Add the chili jam and sun-dried tomatoes and cook until sizzling and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the hot drained pasta, fish sauce, and about 2 tablespoons of the pasta water and toss well. Continue cooking until a thick sauce forms and clings to the noodles. Remove the pan from the heat, add the panko mixture and basil, and toss well. Taste and season with plenty of pepper and a pinch of salt, if needed.4.
Drizzle the pasta with a little more oil just before serving. Serve with grated Parmesan, if desired.