spicy cheesy. gochujang spaghetti

spicy cheesy. gochujang spaghetti


The wee-light of early morning started seeping in through the curtain, adding to my sense of unease particular to someone who knew she had done wrong and was most certainly about to get caught.  Jason’s morning-siren promptly started barking at 6:30 (no, really, the alarm is a dog barking…) and was ignored for 5 minutes as usual until eventually, he turned over and witnessed my crime scene.  Like the most gasping moment in a horror movie, an unsightly picture of an irresponsible grown-up, holding her i-pad with an earphone giggling like an idiot, secretly pulling a marathon on… a new-found television series.  ALL NIGHT and 18 episodes in, not even of something socially excusable like Game of Thrones, or House of Cards to demonstrate depth, but a retarded high-school version of True Blood with a name too embarrassing to even pronounce… VaVampire Diaries!  God!  Just hang me by the neck!


But to calm you down from the horror that this post has something to do with idiocy and to prove that I’m not at all lost in senses, I’m glad to inform that somewhere along Season Two (or fine, much earlier than that), things had just taken a deep dive from DUMB to DUMBER, which pulled my conscientiousness back to reality.  A)  Vampires are not real and B)  Oh wait I have a food-blog to maintain!  Right, food.  FOOD!  My mind was so scrambled I can’t even remember what the fuck I ate until I pulled out my drafts in cue… uhmm, what the hell is this mutated monstrosity no amount of garlic can expel?   A pasta dish so obscene that it’ll turn an Italian grandmama in her grave for sure, and I say this with proof based on my evidently knowledgeable choices on TV-shows.  Predating my sickness on the less nutritious vampire-run, I was enjoying a much more substantial one focused on regional Italian cuisine called Two Greedy Italians (smooth transitioning I  know).  In spite of the many Godly perks and blessings of being an Italian when it comes to food, the show also revealed the pure evil of food-pride gone wrong…

gochujang-cheese-spaghetti9 gochujang-cheese-spaghetti10

… About regions in Italy that are boycotting foreign produce, restaurants and food stores in the fear that it will interfere with their own food culture.  Now see.  This, along with the fact that I watched a show called The Vampire Diaries, just down-right pisses me off.  I have no objection with people exercising a healthy pride on the tradition and authenticity of their cultural cuisine, but that has to come with KNOWING that EVERY INDIVIDUAL divisions in foods that exist nowadays is the merging of many, as a still on-going progression in human history.  Tomatoes and pasta had no business with Italy a long time ago, and to argue more recently, the uniqueness of Taiwanese street-foods that we so proudly identify with, would come entirely different if weren’t for the Japanese colonization that ended in 1945.  If we all just stick to “traditions” and “authenticity”, we’d all be still teething on raw meats and tree barks.  Taste like shit not to mention boring.  So don’t be a mono-diet vampire, sometimes you just might end up with the best cheesy pasta you’ve had in months.


Serving: 3 ~ 5 depending

This dish is built on the premise that Korean gochujang (chili paste) goes splendidly, against all odds, with cheese.  I went safely with cheddar cheese but you can go with anything melty like gruyere, gouda or fontina.  The first time I made this without ground pork, but I did the second time and proved a little pork never hurts anybody.  You can of course use sausage meat instead or even ground beef, whatever you have on hand.  But of course without it, this makes a great vegetarian dish nonetheless.  As far as mushroom goes, I used shitake exclusively, but common variety like oyster/porcini/crimini/chanterelle would all work great.  Just don’t do white button mushroom, they’re flavorless.


  • 12.4 oz (350 grams) of assorted mushrooms
  • 4~ 5 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 oz (140 grams) of ground pork
  • 1/2 of a onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp of tomatoe paste
  • 2 tbsp of gochujang hot pepper paste (from brands like Haechandle, or Chung Jung One)
  • 2 tsp of flour
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano cheese, plus more to grate
  • Salt to taste
  • Approx 10.6 oz (300 grams) of spaghetti

Clean and remove the tough ends of whatever mushrooms you are using, and thinly slice them.  Heat up a large skillet over high-heat and add 2 tbsp of olive oil.  When the skillet is REALLY hot, add 1/2 of the sliced mushrooms and scatter them without overlapping too much (depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to do this in 3 batches instead of 2).  THEN DO NOT MOVE THEM, or SALT THEM at this point.  Let the mushrooms toast in the skillet for a couple of minutes to get a very nice browning, then turn them only to get browning on as much surface area as possible.  Crowding the skillet/moving them too much/salting them too early, will all result in the mushrooms sweating too much (releasing water), and you won’t be able to get that deep toasty edges that completely transform the mushrooms in flavours.  Trust me, you want that.  Once the mushrooms are nicely and evenly browned (they should have reduced in size considerably as well), season them with salt and freshly ground black pepper and remove from the skillet.  Repeat the steps (adding more oil to the skillet) with the rest of the mushrooms.  Then set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil with a large, hefty pinch of salt.  Cook the spaghetti according to instruction.

Meanwhile, in the same skillet, add a little bit more oil and start browning the pork.  Add onion, garlic, salt and black pepper, and saute until the onion is translucent.  Add tomato paste, gochujang paste and flour, and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the milk.  Cook until the milk starts to simmer and thicken slightly.  Stir in the mushrooms, cheddar cheese and parmigiano cheese until melted.  Add the spaghetti to the skillet, and enough pasta-cooking water to loosen the sauce slightly.  Toss and cook for another minute, adding more water if needed.

Serve with more grated parmigiano cheese on top.


  • Belinda @themoonblushbaker

    September 13, 2013 at 8:44 PM Reply

    Loving it! Traditional can never get in way of new forms of deliciousness (aka I am stilling wait for my par fired pizza dough to come out right). Any way now I need to try using it risotto and pasta, this looks so good!
    Do not feel silly about series all nighters; I once pulled one for season one of revenge since I was getting season two the next day.

    • Mandy L.

      September 13, 2013 at 9:23 PM Reply

      Belinda, oh REVENGE! I remember that one, too..hahaa. This would work well in risotto, too you’re right! Par-fried pizza dough… might take a few failures to be realized but I’m gonna do my best :)

  • Kevin @ Closet Cooking

    September 14, 2013 at 2:41 AM Reply

    Nice use of gochujang!

  • Sarah Crowder (punctuated. with food)

    September 14, 2013 at 8:53 AM Reply

    You make my favorite food of all the bloggers. Gochujang on errrrything, please.

  • Caroline

    September 14, 2013 at 7:11 PM Reply

    OMG, this is absolutely drool-worthy! Can’t wait to make it, I love gochujang!
    I saw the two greedy Italians and it really annoyed me too when they talked about the boycott of foreign products! How fantastically dumb! I live in Switzerland and I am so so glad that we don’t boycott foreign products here (quite the contrary, nowadays we can find pretty much any exotic ingredients even in the regular grocery stores) otherwise I would just shoot myself.

  • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes

    September 15, 2013 at 11:41 PM Reply

    I could it this for days! And don’t ask about my tv marathons…

  • Reana Louise

    September 17, 2013 at 6:56 PM Reply

    I just made this and, whoa, I am a gochujang convert. Gochujang on all the things. Also, you might want to update your serving sizes to “serves 1 hungry lady + 1 fatso boy.” No regrets.

  • Cheryl Soh

    September 17, 2013 at 8:13 PM Reply

    This is amazing! I tried it tonight and everyone loved it. :D

    Thank you!! :D

  • Sandra | Sandra's Easy Cooking

    September 18, 2013 at 7:32 AM Reply

    I am making it right this moment! Gochujang is like a medicine for me!:)) Thanks for the idea! Oh pics are divine, too!

  • Katie Ehrlich

    September 24, 2013 at 9:16 AM Reply

    Gochujang and cheese is my favorite! I first had it in Japan, where they serve Korean spicy hot pot called Akakara. You eat all the veggies out of the gochujang flavored soup, then if you ordered the dish risotto style they throw rice and Parmesan in and cook it till it’s bubbly and gooey and crusty and amazing.

    This spaghetti looks Akakara-level delicious, and thank you for pointing out that tomatoes are not Italian :)

  • carolyn

    September 28, 2013 at 7:36 AM Reply

    This dish looks delish! Definitely giving this a go. Your blog is so interesting (and funny) to read. Keep up the good work.

  • Jean | Lemons & Anchovies

    September 29, 2013 at 5:43 AM Reply

    I got sucked in to Vampire Diaries, too (I don’t watch a lot of TV but discovered it on Netflix). I got up to the second season and came to your same conclusion but somehow couldn’t resist hitting the button to see the next episode. :)

    Can’t stop looking at this beautiful plate of pasta. I’ve yet to try gochujang but I’ve been known to add other types of chili paste to my pasta, too. Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    September 29, 2013 at 6:34 AM Reply

    Gochujang in spaghetti? Genius! I can’t believe I’ve never done this before!

  • Nicky

    October 1, 2013 at 8:07 AM Reply

    You’re my favorite blogger!! I’m loving this!

  • Penelope

    April 9, 2014 at 9:23 PM Reply

    SO GOOD. I added a bit more tomato paste for super-duper umami boost, even non-spice-loving boyfriend went for seconds – it’s saucy righteousness is irrepressible. Cheese ❤ gochujang 4eva

  • Juventas

    June 6, 2014 at 9:43 AM Reply

    I just made this and I want to say that it was so amazing. My boyfriend loved it! Thanks for an awesome recipe.

  • Hungry Gopher

    June 26, 2014 at 2:56 AM Reply

    What a creative way to use Gochujang! I’ll have to try this recipe soon^^
    Btw, your pictures are rocking! I have a Korean on-line cooking show you might find it interesting. Check out my introductory video of Gochujang, http://www.hungrygopher.com/#!copy-of-go-chu-ga-ru-korean-chilli-pepp/c17lt

    Keep on great angry cooking^^

    Hungry Gopher

  • Millie l Add A Little

    September 20, 2014 at 12:43 AM Reply

    This post is LIFE. SO Good!!

  • Al May

    December 29, 2014 at 12:44 AM Reply

    I tried this recipe and it was delicious!

  • May

    January 12, 2015 at 2:06 PM Reply

    Just finished making this too! Will definitely make again and maybe add more pork and try a different mushroom. I made it with crimini (delicious) and now I want to try with all varieties! Thank you for this genius concoction.

  • IWillEat

    June 22, 2015 at 1:50 PM Reply

    Hi, I came across this recipe while I was in search of finding a recipe that involved gochujang. This recipe looks delicious and I’ll be sure to make this at home. However I have a query, my friend doesn’t have a liking for mushrooms and so I was wandering whether mushrooms were essential in the flavour of the dish and if so what ingredients would you recommend to substitute instead? Would perhaps some kind of mushroom so create the same flavour? Thank you!

  • IWillEat

    June 22, 2015 at 1:52 PM Reply

    Hi, I came across this recipe while I was in search of finding a recipe that involved gochujang. This recipe looks delicious and I’ll be sure to make this at home. However I have a query, my friend doesn’t have a liking for mushrooms and so I was wandering whether mushrooms were essential in the flavour of the dish and if so what ingredients would you recommend to substitute instead? Would perhaps some kind of mushroom soup create the same flavour? Thank you!

  • JP

    July 1, 2015 at 7:23 AM Reply

    Great recipe. When do the cooked mushrooms go in?

  • kate whittum-shrimankar

    August 17, 2015 at 9:33 AM Reply

    Made this tonight, and it was killer. I only had whole wheat spaghetti, and it went very well. Gochujang gave a lovely red wine reduction / fermented flavor- I’ll keep in mind when I need that kind of big flavor short cut. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Rossana

    May 5, 2016 at 8:51 AM Reply

    Just made it. Excellent combo. Thank you!

  • Rose

    May 20, 2016 at 9:14 AM Reply

    Making a riff on this now… I didn’t have mushrooms or ground pork, so I sautéed the onions and garlic and then added chopped leftover pulled pork, kohlrabi, and zucchini, and then carried on with the recipe. Your way is probably better, but it is a very versatile Thursday night dish. Thanks!

  • Jennifer Hughes

    October 9, 2016 at 8:48 AM Reply

    You are so right about tradition and authenticity! Cuisine is the perfect reflection of globalization. You also see it in language and popular culture. You should never suppress the natural flow of globalization. It’s what makes us, US! Food is life! Food is love! Food is everything! I recently listened to a podcast by J. Kenji López-Alt about this very topic. Here’s the link, if you’re interested: https://soundcloud.com/user-306003081/kenji-and-ed-tackle-listener

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      October 10, 2016 at 4:30 AM Reply

      Hi Jennifer, thanks for the link! I will check it out for sure :)

  • Kay

    March 15, 2017 at 12:09 AM Reply

    As for the white button mushrooms being boring…I they go well with this type of dish being sauteed in Garlic and Worcestershire Sauce. Melt butter, add sliced mushrooms, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce and saute until brown.

  • Kerstin Miiller

    March 16, 2017 at 8:01 AM Reply

    Made that for dinner tonight and my husband loved it. Thanks for the amazing recipe. I made fresh pasta as well and it was outstanding

  • Claire

    March 4, 2018 at 2:31 AM Reply

    This dish is great. I make it with rice noodles, which are really thickly sliced rice cakes that I get at a local Korean supermarket. I’ve thought of throwing in some spinach leaves but haven’t yet. I’m lazy and just throw the mushrooms in after the ground meat browns when I’m pressed for time and it still comes out fabulously. Thanks for a keeper of a recipe and inspiring a venture into Korean and Korean-inspired food.

  • Hayley

    April 5, 2018 at 6:50 AM Reply

    I had a similar dish at a restaurant recently and found myself craving it and wondering if I could recreate it today. Thus prompting the google search and discovery of the recipe! It’s freaking delicious! My two year old likes it too!!!

  • Bella Hardy

    May 17, 2018 at 8:57 PM Reply

    Really this would be special and great spicy cheesy gochujang spaghetti recipe! Love healthy food! Thanks for sharing!

  • Khairul K

    June 6, 2018 at 12:08 PM Reply

    This recipe blew my mind; I found it and tried it because a) I had leftover gochujang and b) so many shiitake mushrooms in my fridge. I didn’t even have good cheese, just Kraft singles.

    I still think about this recipe everytime I see gochujang. It’s THAT good.

  • Rhianna

    August 24, 2018 at 2:18 AM Reply

    Do you think you could brown the mushroom and make the pork sauce in advance? And then just reheat and combine when wanting to serve?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      August 24, 2018 at 2:42 AM Reply

      Rhianna, I suppose you could, but I wouldn’t prepare it more than a couple hours ahead.

  • Anna

    March 18, 2019 at 12:18 AM Reply

    This recipe looks amazing! I’m so excited to try it.What would be something good to serve with this?

  • Alina

    March 25, 2019 at 1:26 AM Reply

    Nice idea! This spaghetti look absolutely delicious! I need to try it!

  • Julia Stearns @ Healthirony

    March 27, 2019 at 8:03 PM Reply

    I prefer healthy food! And I’ll definitely try that spaghetti. My husband would love it! Thanks and kudos for this awesome recipe.

  • Kelly Ann

    June 9, 2019 at 5:07 AM Reply

    I made this tonight and it was amazing! Very flavourful. I was unsure of how the cheddar cheese would taste with all the other flavours, but it was outstanding!

  • Kat

    January 27, 2020 at 8:38 AM Reply

    This is a favorite recipe amongst my family! My fiancé requested this for his birthday dinner, he loves it!!

  • Jodie

    September 19, 2020 at 6:45 AM Reply

    I recently discovered that I’d saved this recipe to my Pinterest food board years ago. I thought to myself, “hey I happen to have gochuchang and a tube of tomato paste in my fridge.” Though I was missing mushrooms and ground pork, I had bacon. This is quarantine cooking now, and I was feeling so lazy that I didn’t even add onion or garlic, and still the dish was amazingly flavorful. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Shira

    May 25, 2021 at 4:03 PM Reply

    I loved it! Made a vegan version for some sweet vegan friends omitting the meats and using a vegan cheddar instead, it was absolutely adored, thanks!

  • Tim

    June 23, 2021 at 1:05 AM Reply

    This is, shall we say, indulgent and extremely satisfying. We added three baby bok choy to feel slightly better about our choices, but we ate it all with gusto.

  • Lourdes

    August 6, 2021 at 11:26 AM Reply

    This is so beautiful! Quick, cheesy, spicey & noodley! Hits all of the food groups! Thank you. Thank you.

  • Anna

    April 11, 2022 at 4:33 PM Reply

    If you freeze it will it tastes the same after? As I don`t want to cook it every day

  • Nicola

    December 24, 2022 at 2:04 AM Reply

    Any vegetable or salad sides recommended to go with this cheesy gochu goodness?

Post a Comment