Make Way for Generously Buttered Gochujang Noodles

Credit…James Ransom for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

One genre of home cooking consistently saves me on days when I haven’t gone food shopping, and I need to eat something immediately: the pantry pasta.

This might mean pulling together a spicy puttanesca with a can of tomatoes, or spaghetti with oil-packed sardines and plenty of lemon zest. Pasta dressed with fried garlic, olive oil and chile flakes, plus a flurry of Parmesan, will also do the trick. And this unexpectedly luxurious vegan pasta made with cashew butter and miso always sets things right again.

My colleague Eric Kim has a new recipe for gochujang buttered noodles (above) that caught my eye, and not only because I already have all the ingredients for it — the sign of a perfect pantry pasta!

If you don’t have a little tub of that thick, claret-colored chile paste in your fridge, you can read more about the pleasures of gochujang here. It shines when mixed with other ingredients. Try loosening it up with soy sauce, vinegar and garlic to make yangnyeom sauce for dipping fried chicken or tofu, or mix it with brown sugar and butter to swirl into Eric’s dreamy, chewy sugar cookies.

For the buttered noodles, you’ll add some gochujang, honey and vinegar to garlic, sautéed in butter. Add a bit more butter and a splash of starchy pasta water, and that’s it. You have the perfect dressing for hot spaghetti.

Maybe you’re not in a lazy phase this week, though, and you went food shopping recently. Don’t you want to make the most of those cute spring potatoes? Take a look at Eric’s comforting gochujang potato stew, which also brings in beans and greens for a spicy, deeply savory vegetarian dish.

For another vegetarian dinner, try Alexa Weibel’s carrot risotto with grated carrots simmered with the rice, and sweet and spicy roasted carrots on top — just swap in vegetable stock or kombu dashi for the chicken stock to make it vegetarian. With extra chile crisp spooned on top, it can be as spicy as you like.

If you’re looking for something meatier, I’d like to direct you to Samantha Seneviratne’s kukul mas maluwa, a Sri Lankan chicken curry made with toasted spices, pandan and curry leaves, and simmered briefly in coconut milk. It comes together in one pot and one hour. Don’t shy away from this recipe if you’re cooking for two — sure, it feeds four to six, but the leftovers are even better the next day!

To get all the recipes, you’ll need to subscribe. (Thank you so much, if you already do!) You can also find us on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, where Alexa Weibel will show you how to make vegan mac and cheese, inspired by the boxed kind, using your blender. If you run into any technical issues, you can send an email to [email protected].

Bye for now, and you can look forward to Melissa’s return on Wednesday. Thanks for having me.

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