This tangy, rich pasta kind of feels like mac & cheese’s cool older cousin. Maybe that’s because it comes complete with 3 layers of umami flavor: kimchi, Parmesan, and gochujang, a Korean fermented red chili paste. The latter is optional, but is commonly found in Asian and specialty grocery stores. It’s worth having on hand for a variety of dishes, like these ultra-crunchy Korean chicken wings.
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thick-cut slices bacon, cut into ½"-thin strips
drained kimchi, roughly chopped
cloves garlic, minced
freshly grated Parmesan
Thinly sliced scallions, for serving
Toasted sesame seeds, for serving
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp and fat has rendered, 10 minutes.
- Empty all but about 1 tablespoon bacon fat from the pot and add kimchi and garlic. Stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook until garlic is fragrant and most of the moisture has evaporated from the kimchi, about 2 minutes.
- Add water, half-and-half, pasta, gochujang (if using), and salt. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan until melted.
- Top with scallions and sesame seeds before serving.