Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Gochujang Carbonara | Ambitious Kitchen


In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m on a bit of a pasta kick. Oh and a gochujang kick. So what better dinner to share than a silky, spicy, luxurious gochujang carbonara recipe?!

I first shared my take on traditional pasta carbonara back in 2019 and many of you (and Tony) told me how much you loved how easy and delicious it was. I was dreaming about that dish not too long ago and remembered I had some gochujang still sitting in my fridge after making these Sweet and Spicy Gochujang Chicken Bowls, and as you guessed it, I decided to add some to my carbonara sauce.

Hellooo spicy, savory, creamy, umami flavor MAGIC. This gochujang carbonara has it all. Just trust me when I say you must put this on your dinner menu ASAP — it’s perfect for date night or any time you want to make something that feels a little special. Maybe it’s just a Tuesday night? Sounds perfect to me.

gochujang carbonara on a plate

What is gochujang?

I’ve been adding gochujang, which is a Korean red chili paste, to lots of different recipes lately because it adds an amazing sweetness, spiciness, and savoriness to all types of dishes. It’s SO versatile and such a fun ingredient to use!

mixing sauce for a gochujang carbonara recipe

A new take on traditional carbonara

You probably know pasta carbonara as an Italian dish made with hard cheese such as pecorino romano or parmesan, eggs, guanciale (an Italian cured meat), freshly ground black pepper, and pasta. Most pasta carbonara recipes are made with spaghetti, but it’s also common to use bucatini, linguine, rigatoni, or angel hair pasta.

This gochujang carbonara (as the name suggests) kicks up the heat and flavor with the addition of gochujang! The pasta still gets that lovely creaminess that you’ll find with traditional carbonara, but with some extra spice. We’re also getting that savory flavor from bacon instead of guanciale because it’s more readily available and still delicious.

gochujang pasta in a pot

Everything you’ll need to make gochujang carbonara

Now that we’ve covered some of the key ingredients in this lovely gochujang pasta, let’s chat about the rest:

  • Bacon: as I mentioned, I like to use bacon in this recipe because that’s what I usually have on hand.
  • Cheese: just like regular carbonara you’ll need grated pecorino romano or parmesan.
  • Eggs: another staple in carbonara recipes? Eggs! They give the sauce an extra creamy texture (more on this below).
  • Gochujang: the star of the show! You’ll just need a couple of tablespoons of gochujang and can easily adjust the spice by using more or less.
  • Spices: you’ll also need salt, garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Pasta: feel free to get creative here! I love using fettuccine, conchiglie, or shellbows.
  • To garnish: top your bowl with scallions, toasted sesame seeds, and a little lemon zest for brightness.

creamy gochujang carbonara on plates

Can I make it vegan or dairy free?

The eggs and bacon are really what make this a gochujang carbonara instead of just pasta with gochujang, so I don’t have an easy vegan substitute that will produce the same result. Feel free to try using a dairy free parmesan that you like (and that melts well!) to keep the dish dairy free!

easy gochujang pasta on a plate

Tips for making perfect carbonara

There are a few tips and tricks I have that will help you make this gochujang carbonara perfectly every time!

  • Get your ingredients ready. This recipe goes quickly so you’ll just need to make sure you have everything out, measured and ready so you aren’t scrambling.
  • Season your pasta water. Remember to generously season the pasta water with salt when you cook your pasta. This will naturally add flavor to the noodles themselves.
  • Toss the pasta quickly. Once the pasta is done and drained, add it back to the pot and quickly toss it with the egg, cheese & gochujang sauce. The warmth from the pasta will be enough to set the eggs to create a nice, creamy sauce instead of scrambled eggs.
  • Add the right amount of pasta water. The reserved pasta water will help to make the pasta nice and creamy to your liking. In this recipe, I stream in 1/2 cup to create a nice consistency but add more as needed to make it creamier.

gochujang carbonara on a plate

Storing tips

Store any leftover gochujang carbonara in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Please note that the pasta won’t be as creamy coming out of the fridge, so I’d recommend reheating it on the stovetop with a little olive oil to return some of the creamy texture.

More pasta recipes you’ll love

Get all of my pasta recipes here!

I hope you love this gochujang carbonara recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

The
Ambitious Kitchen
Cookbook

125 Ridiculously Good For You, Sometimes Indulgent, and Absolutely Never Boring Recipes for Every Meal of the Day

Gochujang Carbonara

gochujang carbonara on a plate

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes

Total Time 35 minutes

Serves6 servings

Flavorful gochujang carbonara made with simple ingredients in just 30 minutes. This delicious take on traditional pasta carbonara has a wonderful kick of heat from the gochujang, plus the luxurious creaminess that you know and love! Fun and easy comfort food that’s guaranteed to impress.

Ingredients

  • For the pasta:
  • 10 ounces thick-cut bacon
  • ¾ cup (3 ounces) grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Gochujang, depending how spicy you like it
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces pasta (I love fettuccine, conchiglie or shellbows for this!)*
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • For garnish:
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Toasted sesame seeds (black and white are great!)
  • Lemon zest, optional for brightness

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon: Add bacon to a large skillet or pan and place over medium heat, cook bacon on both sides until golden brown. If the pan starts to smoke at any point, simply lower the heat. I always cook my bacon on medium to medium low heat. Once bacon is done, transfer to a cutting board and blot with a paper towel to absorb excess grease, then coarsely chop and set aside.

  • Alternatively cook the bacon in the oven: Carefully place bacon in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place bacon into a COLD oven, shut the door and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake until bacon has reached your desired level of crispiness, 15 to 25 minutes.

  • While the bacon cooks, make the sauce and pasta: In a medium bowl, whisk together the parmesan, eggs, Gochujang, salt, garlic powder and lots of freshly ground black pepper until well-combined. Set aside.

  • Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and boil until al dente, according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then remove from heat and drain. Add pasta back to the pot, immediately add the egg and cheese mixture, and use tongs to quickly and thoroughly coat the pasta with the mixture. The warmth of the pasta will transform the eggs into a creamy sauce; it should not be curdled or chunky. Stream in ½ cup pasta water and toss again to coat the noodles so they are glossy and creamy. Add more pasta water, as necessary, to create a creamier sauce. Taste and season with more salt, as needed.

  • Serve: Divide pasta between bowls or plates. Top with bacon pieces and sprinkle each bowl with about 1 tablespoon of grated or shaved parmesan and scallions. If you’d like a little brightness, I suggest adding a little lemon (or lime!) zest on top. Finish it off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and dig in! Serves 4-6.

Recipe Notes

*To make gluten free: simply use your favorite gluten free pasta.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (based on 6)Calories: 499calCarbohydrates: 46.1gProtein: 19.6gFat: 25.7gSaturated Fat: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 3.6g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by Eat Love Eats

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