This creamy gochujang pasta is one of the greatest pasta experiences I have ever had. It only takes 20 minutes to make and will be sure to impress your next guest. It looks very similar to a penne a la vodka except it’s not and it’s much better.
Important ingredients for creamy gochujang pasta
Milk and cream
Milk and cream become the base for this pasta sauce. Many people like to only use cream, but I find that to be too heavy. Instead, I use 3/4 cups of milk mixed with 1/4 cup of cream. If you don’t want to use any cream at all, then using 100% milk works great as well!
Gochujang is the most important ingredient for this recipe. It brings all the flavor, color, and heat to the dish. If you don’t already know, gochujang is a sweet and spicy fermented red chili paste. Bright red in color and it is a very versatile Korean ingredient used for sauces, soup bases, and much more.
You can use your favorite pasta shape for this recipe. I prefer rigatoni because I find it holds the sauce much better than other pasta shapes.
How to get the perfect consistency in creamy gochujang pasta
After making this dish multiple times, I realized that the sauce base takes only 5-8 minutes to make at the most. That is why I always start by boiling my pasta in salted water first since that takes at least 10 minutes.
IF you end up finishing the sauce much earlier than your pasta is done, don’t worry, just keep it on low heat until your pasta is done. The hot and starchy pasta water will thin out the sauce anyways and you will be able to adjust the consistency afterwards.
A couple of my favorite garnishes for this pasta are parmesan cheese and chives. Green onions will work as well, but chives are much finer and look more delicate after they are cut. Parmesan cheese is a classic and will pair perfectly with the spicy sauce.
Creamy Gochujang Pasta
- 200 g dry rigatoni (or pasta of choice)
- 50 g pork belly (or 3 slices bacon)
- 5 coves garlic
- 2.5 tbsp gochujang
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ tbsp soy sauce
- ½ cup pasta water
- Begin to cook rigatoni according to package instructions in salted water until el dente. Should take about 10 -15 minutes.200 g dry rigatoni
- Cut pork belly into 1 inch pieces and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side until nicely browned on each side.50 g pork belly
- Remove the pork belly but leave 1 tbsp of the bacon fat.
- Add sliced garlic into the same pan and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.5 coves garlic
- Add gochujang, and cook while stirring for 1 minute.2.5 tbsp gochujang
- Add milk, cream, and soy sauce and allow it to simmer for 3 minutes until thickened.¾ cup milk, ¼ cup heavy cream, ½ tbsp soy sauce
- At this point, the pasta should almost be done cooking. If it isn't ready yet, keep your gochujang sauce pan over low heat until the pasta is ready.
- Add the rigatoni directly into the sauce pan along with the cooked pork belly and starchy pasta water.½ cup pasta water
- Cook over medium heat until the sauce is your desired consistency. I like to keep this slightly more saucy so I only let it simmer about 2-3 more minutes.
- Optionally top it with parmesan cheese and chopped chives.
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I can’t afford pork belly and don’t like bacon enough to buy a whole package, so ended up springboarding off your recipe. I used lap cheong and added baby greens. So, not your recipe but delicious and I have you to thank!
Yes! I love that modification! Might try that myself haha