Dan dan mian—or Sichuan spicy pork noodles—combines meaty richness with a sweet-savory-spicy sauce that comes together easily from pantry staples. Trouble is, we don’t always have Asian noodles on hand, which can make it a challenge to throw together on a busy weeknight.

We wanted to see if we could make an even more pantry-friendly version, while keeping those same vibrant flavors. And we happily found we can get perfectly good—albeit nontraditional—results by substituting Italian pastas.

Our simplified version starts with the fiery, savory sauce that is the hallmark of dan dan mian. But we also wanted it to have a bit more body, something that would help it truly cling to and coat our noodles, and found our answer in another simple classic—peanut noodles.

We pull this off with a few key high-impact condiments: Soy sauce adds fermented depth in addition to salinity, while oyster sauce packs a sweet-savory punch. Whisking them together with peanut butter creates a luscious, creamy sauce.

We also sauté the meat with a splash of flavor-­boosting balsamic vinegar, which offers a mellow acidity that makes it a fine substitute for the more traditional Chinese black vinegar. For bright, complex heat, we add chili sauce or Sriracha.

The resulting sauce was so robust with layers of flavor, we found the variety of noodle no longer mattered. If you already have Asian-style noodles, by all means use them. But if all you have handy are spaghetti or linguine, you’ll be perfectly pleased with the results.

From there, you can luxe up the finished dish with any number of garnishes, be it a handful of chopped peanuts, a scattering of scallions or a rich, runny-yolked fried egg.