Every now and then I crave Korean food. I’ll usually make a soon doo boo or a jjigae of some sorts which means I’ll need to pick up a tub of gochujang, or Korean hot pepper paste. It’s thick and elastic; a very concentrated pepper flavor with a hint of sweetness and of course, a good kick. I always have a tub of this stuff in my fridge and I’ll dig into it whenever I feeling for Korean. But the problem is, there’s just so much of it leftover! Imagine how thrilled I was when I found a recipe for gochujang spaghetti. Talk about pure joy.
I love fusion food. The idea of marrying two polarizing cuisines that somehow end up complementing each other is magic to me. Spicy Korean gochujang seamlessly melds into a thick and cheesy Bolognese sauce. Does this sound crazy or does this sound heavenly to you?
Crazy or not, it worked.
My friend Neil was over for dinner so he was my test guinea pig while I streamed it live on my Instagram account. Needless to say, we had about three helpings each. I was completely pasta’d out – but I just couldn’t stop. The flavor was completely addicting. The spice level was perfect and the way the sauce perfectly coated each spaghetti strand was excellent. So excited about this – it’ll definitely be making its rounds in my regular roster of recipes.
GOCHUJANG SPAGHETTI - serves 6 - 8 (adapted from Lady & Pups)
2 tbsp butter
1.5 lbs mixed organic mushrooms, large pieces sliced
splash of dry white wine (optional)
salt + pepper
1 (500g) pkg spaghetti
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes
1 lb lean ground pork
1/3 cup gochujang
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 cup pasta water
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp oregano
3/4 cup grana padano, grated
1/4 cup old white cheddar, grated
salt + pepper
In a large cast iron skillet, melt the butter and cook the mushrooms over high heat. The mushrooms should be in a single layer and should not crowd. Watch closely to prevent the mushrooms from burning. Once the mushrooms have received some colour, de-glaze with a splash of dry white wine (if using) and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
In separate pot, cook the spaghetti according to packaged directions. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain and rinse the pasta and set aside.
Place the large cast iron skillet back on the stove and heat up the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic and red chili flakes and cook until translucent.
Add in the ground pork and saute until cooked.
Once cooked, add in the gochujang and tomato pastes. Stir until all of the pork is covered. Add in the pasta water and milk and stir until the sauce thickens.
Lastly, add in the oregano, cheeses and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with additional cheese, shredded nori and sesame seeds.