This creamy gochujang pasta recipe is really quick but packed with flavor. Using gochujang in a pasta sauce was new for me. I was skeptical at first, but turns out, it works great! It is spicy and rich in flavor and it pairs so nicely with a creamy sauce. I add shrimp to this recipe to add a little protein and texture but you can easily skip that or swap it out if you prefer.
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a versatile and korean fermented chili paste that is a spicy, savory, and slightly sweet. It is made from a blend of chili powder, glutinous rice, soybeans, and salt.
One of the unique features of gochujang is its fermentation process, which gives it a complex flavor profile and depth. This process also makes gochujang a probiotic-rich food, which is beneficial for gut health.
Gochujang can range in spiciness depending on the type of chili used and the fermentation time, but it typically has a moderate level of heat. The sweetness of gochujang also balances out the spiciness a little bit too. There are so many ways to use gochujang. I also love it in a veggie bowl like this Gochujang Tofu Bowl with Roasted Veggies.
My preferred one is the Mother-in-Law’s Gochujang. I buy their original flavor but they also have a spicy one if you prefer extra heat. You can find it at a local grocery store, asian markets, or online. It will be in a jar or a tub near the soy sauce.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta: There are many types of pasta that go great with this. I love to use fettuccine but something like penne or rigatoni would work as well. Dry pasta works great, but you can even use fresh pasta if you want. Here is a fresh fettuccine pasta recipe I've used with this recipe before.
- Gochujang: The main flavor in this pasta is the Gochujang. It gives it that spice and umami flavor. If you want a more mild flavor just use 2 tablespoons of gochujang instead of 3.
- Heavy Cream: The cream is what makes the sauce nice and silky. It also balances the spicy flavor to make the perfect creamy gochujang pasta sauce. If you don't want to use cream you could try using coconut milk or coconut cream but I haven't given that a try.
- Green Onion: To add a little green and a crunch to the top of the pasta, I love to add some sliced green onion. You could also use some chopped fresh herbs like basil or chives.
- Shrimp: I like to add shrimp here to add some protein to the meal. You can use fresh or frozen shrimp just make sure your shrimp is defrosted before cooking. If you don't want to use shrimp you can use tofu instead. This crispy tofu recipe is really easy.
If you want to add more greens into the dish, add in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach when the sauce is done and cook it in until wilted.
How to Make Gochujang Pasta?
This creamy gochujang sauce is a surprisingly easy recipe. it just takes a few steps:
- Saute garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes.
- Add in gochujang and toast for a minute.
- Add in cream, stir until incorporated.
- Season with salt and pepper.