Okay first things first: don’t be alarmed by the intense redness of the pasta, it’s totally fine, let me explain!! The key ingredient in this Creamy Gochujang Pasta with Shrimp is, you guessed it, gochujang paste. Let’s get into that.
I first saw a version of this pasta on tiktok and became immediately obsessed. It’s incredibly simple, but very rich: it’s creamy and buttery, sweet and spicy. It’s Italian mixed with Korean and the result resembles Penne Alla Vodka, but with a fun twist.
What is Gochujang?
I’ve recently developed a love affair with gochujang and it’s become a staple in my fridge. This funky Korean fermented pepper paste adds a boost of spicy-sweet umami to everything from stir-fries to soups to creamy pasta sauce. A fundamental ingredient in Korean cuisine, gochujang is a thick and spicy-sweet scarlet red paste made from chile peppers, fermented soybeans, salt, and thickened with glutinous rice. The chile peppers provide a nice heat, while the fermented soybeans add a miso-like quality to the paste and its umami flavor.
a few tips
Gochujang’s sweet-hot-salty flavor adds depth to a dish, making it so versatile, but on its own it’s a bit agressive. Cooking the paste in olive oil and garlic before adding the cream helps reduce its pungency. You can adjust the quantity to your liking, and the same goes for the cream. Add the pasta cooking liquid a little bit at a time (to desired consistency) and cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened a bit. I like sautéing the shrimp before adding it back to the sauce, so it’s beautifully seared, and I finish it off with a little bit of butter.
You can use any type of pasta, but I find tube-shaped pasta like rigatoni works best here. Garnish with plenty grated parmesan and chopped chives and you’re done! Since there’s no chopping involved, the sauce gets done while the pasta cooks. It’s all about getting your ingredients ready to go before you start cooking. Its’a a quick and easy, perfect weeknight meal idea.
Creamy Gochujang Pasta with Shrimp
- 8 oz rigatoni
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp gochujang
- 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
- 1 tbsp butter
- salt and black pepper
- 3 tbsp chopped chives
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
- Meanwhile, season shrimp with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until just opaque and cooked through. Transfer to a separate plate and set aside.
- Add garlic to the same skillet and sauté for about a minute (add more olive oil if needed). Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the gochujang paste. Cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute.
- Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce has slightly reduced.
- Add the pasta and 1/2 cup of the pasta water (add more water, a couple tablespoons at a time, if needed).
- Add in the shrimp and butter, stirring to combine.
- Stir in parmesan.
- Garnish with chopped chives and extra parmesan cheese. Serve.
Tips & Tricks:
If you make this Creamy Gochujang Pasta with Shrimp please be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and I love responding to every comment. And don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram. I’d love to see your photos!