There’s nothing that propels us to the snack cabinet like a one-note dinner. Luckily, this sweet, spicy, umami-rich, salty pasta checks all our boxes. Behold: cheesy kimchi linguine with gochujang butter from Lara Lee’s new cookbook, A Splash of Soy: Everyday Food From Asia.
“Key to balancing the dish are the garnishes: flakes of crispy seaweed and scallions are sprinkled on top, layered with a squeeze of lime and a crispy fried egg, whose all-important runny yolk is broken into and tossed together with grated Parmesan for a bowl of sheer decadence,” explains Lee.
Most important of all is the kimchi, as its funky, fermented flavor anchors the meal. Lee advises buying the freshest, tastiest kind you can afford; odds are you can find a massive jar of the stuff at your local Asian market. Don’t worry about it going bad before you can finish it—you’ll definitely make this pasta again.
Excerpted from A SPLASH OF SOY: Everyday Food From Asia. Copyright © 2023 by Lara Lee. Photographs © Louise Haggar.
8 ounces dried linguine or spaghetti
¾ cup kimchi, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons gochujang paste
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed, or 2 teaspoons garlic paste
2 scallions, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola
Fine sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons crumbled crispy seaweed (such as nori sheets or seaweed flakes)
Lime wedges, for serving
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, put the kimchi, butter, gochujang, soy sauce, garlic and half the scallions in a large, cold, nonstick frying pan (don’t worry about mixing it for now).
2. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the water. Put the pasta straight into the frying pan with 2 tablespoons of pasta water over high heat. Cook, tossing everything together, for about 3 minutes, or until warmed through and well coated. Remove from the heat and transfer to serving bowls.
3. To fry the eggs, wipe out the frying pan. Add the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, crack the eggs into it. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until the whites are partially cooked and the edges are becoming crispy. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the whites are cooked through but the yolk is still runny (or cooked to your liking). Season with a pinch of salt.
4. Top the pasta bowls with the crispy seaweed, the remaining scallions and the fried eggs. Squeeze a wedge of lime over each bowl. Dust with the grated Parmesan and serve with extra lime wedges.