I went to a popup dinner in a warehouse in Venice with some friends recently (does this make me sound cool and trendy?). Creamy gochujang noodles with with strips of tender squid were served for the pasta course and I was instantly inspired by the noodles. In this recipe I opt to keep it simple with a quick and easy version.
This sauce is creamy and spicy, tangy and sweet all at the same time, and as soon as I slurped up the first forkful I knew I had to recreate it. I wanted to pare it down so that it was an easy recipe that just about anyone could whip up for a quick dinner. It’s a pasta sauce made from scratch with minimal effort. This is also a great budget-friendly meal, check out more cheap eats here!
If you aren’t familiar with gochujang, it’s a Korean fermented red pepper paste that adds some sweet and savory heat to any dish. In this recipe it’s whisked together with a base of shallots, garlic, tomato paste and cream for a non-traditional but delicious and easy noodle dish.
The Korean cooking staple can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores these days. I like to keep my fridge stocked with gochujang so this recipe requires little to no shopping or foresight. Plus most of these ingredients are under $1.00 so it makes for a cheap meal that can feed multiple people. For other recipes using gochujang I’d recommend these braised garlic gochujang chicken legs, sweet chili wings or crispy pork belly with a cashew gochujang sauce.
This Korean fermented chili paste adds umami flavor and some spice to these noodles.
Shallots add a mild, slightly sweet flavor to this recipe and are finely chopped so the sauce is still fairly smooth. Finely chopped yellow onion can be substituted instead if needed.
As the garlic is sautéed the flavor mellows so it’s not very pungent. I always recommend using fresh peeled cloves rather than the pre-minced jars.
Tomato paste is concentrated tomatoes that have been cooked down until it becomes a thick, dense paste.
I add heavy cream, the thick part of the milk that rises to the top due to its high fat content to the pasta sauce to create a rich, creamy sauce. Adding some of the pasta cooking water makes the sauce glossy and even creamier.
I always recommend freshly grating cheeses, especially when they will be used in sauces. Many pre-grated cheeses include preservatives to keep them from clumping in the bag. Freshly grated Parmesan will create a more smooth sauce.
While I use standard dried spaghetti in this recipe you can easily swap in your favorite dried pasta of choice or even ramen noodles.
Cook the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water. Then drain and set the noodles aside.
Return the pasta pot to the heat, add the remaining olive oil and butter. Sauté the shallots and garlic.
Stir in the tomato paste and gochujang, cooking for just 30 seconds to mellow the acidity.
Whisk in the chicken stock until smooth then whisk in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss the cooked noodles in the sauce, adding the Parmesan until the sauce is smooth. Add the pasta water 2 tablespoons at a time if the sauce is too clumpy until it’s creamy and smooth.
Divide between warmed pasta bowls and serve hot. Top with sesame seeds (optional).
To reheat creamy noodles like this, add them to a pot with a bit of water. Cover with a lid and warm, stirring occasionally over medium-low heat. The water will help to loosen the sauce and make it creamy again.
If you enjoy this quick and easy gochujang noodle recipe, I recommend checking out these:
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Thanks for sharing! Do they reheat well?
They do!! I recommend adding like a teaspoon or so of water when reheating to help loosen the creamy sauce when reheating!
This looks so good! What a great weeknight meal or one to serve to guests!
Thank you!! It’s one of my favorites!
I’ve had this idea of a saucy, creamy, cheesy, Asian ramen noodles in my head for a while, I think I saw some hacked ramen recipe on youtube once or something. For some reason it popped into my head again tonight and I really wanted to make some sauce for the leftover gluten free noodles in my fridge. This recipe sounded perfect, although it was a smidge too spicy for what I was thinking. I will definitely be trying this again, it was a pretty quick midnight snack, well worth the cutting and sauteing. This would be so good with an egg or chicken, will def have to give that a go.
Such a hit!! My partner and I agreed on making this a part of our regular rotation from now on.
That makes me so happy! Thanks so much for sharing. So glad you enjoyed!
This recipe has become part of my family’s normal rotation now. It’s just so good! I’m trying out more Asian recipes this year and this is a perfect introduction. Perfect to pair with the chili oil roasted broccoli recipe!
Very much a hit! Our dinner group hands down raved at this and said it was a better version of “vodka” sauce … whatever that means. Spicy! Salty! Rich on the palate! Very nice. Only quibble is to add a bit more of the cream/stock mixture at the end to make it a bit more “saucy.” Very nice all in all!
This is a great fusion-y dish. It checks all my boxes of creamy, spicy, savory. I use these refrigerated chinese egg noodles found at my asian market.
I add cast-iron cooked chicken breasts (cut into strips right before plating) and a side of sautéed baby bok choy or brussel sprouts for a full meal!
I can’t remember how I stumbled on this recipe but I’m sure glad I did!
I’m so happy to hear you like the recipe!! I will have to try it with egg noodles next time – I bet it’s awesome! And great pairings recommendations for a full well-rounded meal! Thanks for sharing!
OOOH WOW! I made this last night an this is gone straight to my list of favourites! I swapped the spaghetti for zucchini noodles and left out the butter and oil. Because I had no heavy cream I used a local low fat creamy quark I had in the fridge. What an amazing recipe: a touch spicy, creamy. Delicous. I had it with some white fish but will absolutely try it with squid. Thank you so much!
So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! These sound like great swaps – I especially love how you lightened it up with zucchini noodles! Thanks so much for sharing!
Such a fun and yummy recipe! Super easy to follow. The extra parmesan cheese really brings the flavors home for me. Might add some ground pork next time to make it like an Asian-fusion bolognese type. So glad you discovered this!!
This recipe is delicious! Thank you so much for sharing!
Thank you! I’m so happy to hear that!!
So keen to make this, I’m obssessed with Gochujang. That spice mixed with a creamy pasta sauce is calling my name! I might add some chicken too. 😁😁
Yes!! Such a great combo! Chicken or shrimp is a great addition to make for a more complete dinner too!
This was seriously so delicious!! Can you substitute the heavy cream with half and half?
YAY! so glad you enjoyed them! Yup that substitution should work!!
I made this with soy milk, veggies and it was incredible! Thanks so much for this recipe!
so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe Priya!! Thanks so much for sharing!
I made this tonight for dinner, but vegan, and it was delicious. Thank you for the recipe!
YAY!! so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! What did you use in place of the cream to make it vegan?
Coconut cream! Since gochujang is so strong, you don’t really taste the coconut at all.
Oh awesome, I will have to give it a try! Thanks for letting me know!
OMG! I have had this in my “to do” file for so long now and finally got to it. I topped the noodles with a fried egg and have have refilled my bowl with the pasta 3 times already! So, so, so good!
A fried egg on top is SUCH a good idea!!! Totally doing that next time I make these! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe Julie! Thanks for sharing!
I’ve made these so many times any they’re always a hit! Thanks for sharing such a delish, simple dish that’s given my jar of gochujang new life!!
I am so happy to hear that! Thank you so much for the kind words Chelsie!
This sounds amazing, can’t wait to try it. I’m going to add grilled chicken slices as well.
Thank you! I hope you enjoy the recipe! That sounds like a great addition to me!