This Creamy Gochujang Pasta is deliciously creamy but not cloying. So tasty, you'll want to slurp up the sauce like a soup! Best of all, it's on your table in 15 minutes!
⭐ Why This Recipe is a Star
- Gochujang Pasta is delicious: Does the world really need another Gochujang Pasta recipe? I've eaten a few versions of this recipe but most were much too thick for me. Much as I like cream, there needs to be a balance! In this recipe, the gochujang pasta sauce is creamy but not cloying, and is so scrumptious, I drink up all the sauce like it's soup even where there's no more pasta left!
- Easy to make and quick: This noodle dish only has a few simple steps and can be cooked in 15 minutes. Perfect for busy weeknight dinners!
- Very versatile: you can make it as is in the recipe below, or spruce it up with bacon, SPAM, tomatoes etc
You only need a few simple ingredients:
- Spaghetti: You could probably substitute with other types of pasta and noodles, but note that I've not tried that. (Spaghetti is 1 of my favorite pastas! However, shaped pastas with grooves to trap the sauce, such as penne, fusilli and rigatoni, would also work very well.) Make sure to salt the pasta water well so that the flavor goes all the way into the pasta!
- Korean Gochujang Sauce: Gochujang is quite a mainstream ingredient these days, so you should be able to find it at regular supermarkets under the Asian foods aisle.
- Butter: use unsalted so that the dish doesn't end up too salty! You may want to reserve ½ Tablespoon of the butter quantity specified to add at the end of the cooking process- this gives the pasta a better shine and a richer flavor.
- Aromatics such as onion and garlic: White, yellow or red onions work but red is my preference as it's a little sweeter. You can also use shallots in place of!
- Heavy cream: this gives the Korean fusion dish richness, but if you can't get whipping cream, you can substitute with whole full-fat milk and decrease the amount of pasta water added.
What is Gochujang?
It's a fermented Korean red pepper paste that is salty, savory, sweet and just a little spicy. Great for those who like spice but can't take too much heat!
Usually comes in red, rectangular plastic boxes and needs to be refrigerated after opening. (Some brands come in squeeze tubes. The taste of the different brands will vary slightly.)
Made from red chilies, fermented soybeans, rice etc, this Korean chili paste is often used in many Korean recipes, such as tteokbokki and bibimbap, as well as marinades.
This Gochujang cream pasta is quite carb heavy, so here are some ways to add some proteins and/or fibre to it:
- add tomatoes: gochujang actually goes really well with tomato, so I recommend adding in some halved cherry tomatoes (they're sweeter- I like vine picked ones) along with the pasta to the sauce.
- with bacon: this is like a Korean version of carbonara and goes beautifully with bacon. Pan fry the bacon in a dry pan till the fat renders out. Plate the bacon bits then cook the creamy spicy pasta as per the recipe card. You may have to reduce the amount of butter used if there's a lot of bacon fat in the pan. Return the bacon bits to the pan before serving and mix well.
- With a fried egg: you want an Asian style sunny-side up egg here, where the sides of the white are brown, crisp and a bit bubbly, but the yolk is still orange and runny.
Of course, you can also add other proteins such as shrimp and chicken breasts!
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
1a. Cook your pasta as per normal, but for 2-3 minutes less than you usually do. (You want it undercooked so that it will still be al dente after simmering in the creamy sauce later.) Once done, drain but save 1 Cup of the pasta water to add to the sauce later.
1b. Whilst the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. Next, stir in the onions, garlic and (if using) sliced chilies till soft and fragrant.
Note: remember that the water used to boil pasta should be well-salted: as salty as the sea!
2. Once the onions are translucent and aromatic, add in the gochujang and stir till well-mixed.
Note: Be careful not to let the garlic burn. If necessary, turn the fire down to low.
3a. Pour in the cream and stir well.
3b. Pour in the pasta water and, if using, the seafood or chicken stock powder.
Note: I find this combination salty enough, as pasta water is pretty salty already. However, do taste to see if you feel there's a need to season further. You can use light soy sauce instead of salt to season, if you wish.
If not spicy enough for you, add in more gochujang, gochugaru powder or sliced chilies.
4. Add in the pasta, stir and simmer till the pasta is cooked through.
Optional garnish: toasted sesame seeds, small pieces of seaweed, sliced green onions or a sprinkle of gochugaru chili powder.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Tip #1: Don't cook this Gochujang Spaghetti over high heat as we don't want the cream sauce to curdle or "break"!
Tip #2: Leftovers can be refrigerated for 2-3 days in an airtight container but would need to be reheated gently in a pan with 1-2 Tablespoons of water to loosen the sauce. (Microwaving will curdle the Cream.)
💭 Recipe FAQs
You can but I find it doesn't need it as it's already thick and savory enough on its own. (Better for your Wallet too- parmesan cheese ain't cheap!) If adding, I suggest grated Parmesan at the end.
🥗 Other Korean Recipes
Enjoyed this easy Baked Gochujang Salmon Recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below! If you REALLY liked this Korean-inspired seafood dish, please consider supporting it by buying me a coffee! 🙂 (No obligation though!) Thank you and have a great day!
Creamy Gochujang Pasta
- Knife and cutting board
- Pasta pot Substitute: big pot and a metal colander
- Pan and wooden spatula
- 3.5 oz dried spaghetti Substitute: other types of pasta. You can use 4 oz of spaghetti if you are not adding any side dishes.
- Water and salt For cooking the pasta. Save 1 Cup after cooking for the sauce.
For the sauce
- 2 cloves garlic peel and mince. You can still make this dish without the aromatics, but it won't be as fragrant. Add a bit more of the chicken or seafood stock powder to make up for the lack!
- ¼ onion preferebaly red, peel and mince. Substitute: shallot
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 red chili pepper minced, omit if you don't like spice
- 1 Tablespoon Korean Gochujang Paste You can use 2 if you like it spicier or add some gochugaru flakes
- ½ Cup heavy cream
- ½ Cup Pasta water from cooking the pasta
- ½ teaspoon seafood or chicken stock powder Optional. If you omit it, you may need to season with salt and a bit of sugar.
Cooking the Pasta
- Cook your pasta as per normal, but for 2-3 minutes less than you usually do. (You want it undercooked so that it will still be al dente after simmering in the creamy sauce later.)
- Once done, drain but save 1 Cup of the pasta water to add to the sauce later.
Making the Sauce
- Whilst the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. Next, stir in the onions, garlic and (if using) sliced chilies till soft and fragrant. Note: remember that the water used to boil pasta should be well-salted: as salty as the sea!
- Once the onions are translucent and aromatic, add in the gochujang and stir till well-mixed.Note: Be careful not to let the garlic burn. If necessary, turn the fire down to low.
- Pour in the cream and stir well.
- Pour in the pasta water and, if using, the seafood or chicken stock powder. Note: I find this combination salty enough, as pasta water is pretty salty already. However, do taste to see if you feel there's a need to season further. You can use light soy sauce instead of salt to season, if you wish.If not spicy enough for you, add in more gochujang, gochugaru powder or sliced chilies.
- Add in the pasta, stir and simmer till the pasta is cooked through.Optional garnish: toasted sesame seeds, small pieces of seaweed, sliced green onions or a sprinkle of gochugaru chili powder.
- Serve and enjoy!
If this Korean Baked Salmon with Crispy Skin recipe was helpful, maybe you'd like to sign up for my newsletter in which I send you more tips and tricks to make authentic Asian food?