8ozcurly pastaI used Cavatappi pasta, but macaroni, shells, and most short pasta works!
½cupkimchichopped finely, juices drained - you can go up to 1 cup to enhance flavors
⅓cupbread crumbsPanko preferred
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta based on the directions on the box (cook about 1 minute under direction for perfect texture)
While the pasta cooks, heat the butter in a large skillet on medium heat - I recommend at least a 10 inch skillet. Once the butter has melted, add the kimchi to the butter and saute until the water in the kimchi reduces significantly (roughly 5-6 minutes)
Add flour to this and whisk to create a roux. Once mixed well, add the cream, salt, pepper and garlic powder and whisk nicely to form a fluid mixture (Mornay sauce).
By this time, the pasta should be done - drain the pasta (reserving ⅓ cup of pasta water)
Reduce flame to a low heat, and add 2 cups of cheddar, 2 cups of gruyere and ½ cup of parmesan to the Mornay sauce and whisk to create a gooey cheese sauce.
Add about 2-3 tablespoon of pasta water to the sauce and stir well, then add the pasta and coat well until you get to desired consistency. Note: You might want to add or reduce the cheese based on your own preference for cheesiness!
Add the remaining cheddar, parmesan and the bread crumbs to the top of the skillet and then pop in the oven to broil for 1-2 minutes. Keep a close eye to make sure it doesn't burn, but you do want it to get JUST close to burning. Tastes delicious!
No garnishes are required, but if you do want to garnish, use some Korean red chili pepper (gochugaru) or red pepper flakes as well as fresh scallions for an herby note. Serve hot, hot, hot!
Kimchi is traditionally not vegan (uses shrimp) - so make sure you find a kimchi brand that is marked vegan. I use Mother In Law's brand kimchi in this recipe!
Pasta type: Any type of curly pasta works in the recipe. I've used Cavatappi since it has many folds and works great with the creamy, cheesy sauce. Macaroni, elbows, shells, all work in this recipe!
Cheeses used: I use a combination of soft and sharp cheese (cheddar) + soft and mild cheese (gouda) and a crispy textured, salty cheese (Parmesan). You can swap the gouda with gruyere or fontina or even brie for milder flavors.
Use mini cocottes for a great presentation if you have those on hand. But even if using a skillet, make sure to use a large enough skillet, so the pasta layer is no more than 2-3 shells deep. This ensures maximum cheesiness!
To make this vegan: I've tested this recipe with vegan butter and cheese (specifically: Country Crock Plant Butter instead of regular butter, and either Follow Your Heart or Violife cheddar instead of regular cheddar, with the latter tasting a BIT saltier than the former).