This pasta dish is a quick and easy option for weeknight dinners that brings a lot of flavor without a lot of fuss or mess. Inspired by the classic flavors of a Banh Mi sandwich, this pasta combines the crunch of chopped vegetables, the tang of cilantro, and perfectly sized bites of ground pork and serves it up over a bed of rice noodles with a just-spicy-enough creamy sauce. Instead of dealing with a dripping (though so delicious) mess of a sandwich, you’ve got all the best parts carried over into a family-pleasing dinner.
I’ve tinkered a bit with homemade banh mi sandwiches and haven’t been entirely satisfied with the outcome. So far, ordering it from a pro has been the best way to get the job done. But I’ve also had a lot of fun experimenting with the ideas and flavors in the sandwich without taking it so literally.
This column on Epicurious explores the pros and cons of a homemade sandwich, and it’s worth noting some of the challenges (like the bread) and whether to slow roast the pork aren’t even part of the discussion with this pasta. This recipe is truly inspired by the sandwich; it isn’t a literal translation of the different components onto a dinner plate.