Oooh, mac n cheese… a perennial pasta favourite. Here, I’m spiking it by using some Korean gochujang to give it that smoky, spiced funky twist, plus a good ol’ fix of kimchi. It’s a goodie.
300g (10.5 oz) dried macaroni pasta
90g (3 oz) unsalted butter
⅓ cup plain (all-purpose) flour
3½ cups milk
500g (1 lb) shredded pizza cheese (a mix of mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan)
ground white pepper
250g (9 oz) kimchi, roughly chopped
1 tbsp gochujang*
2 spring onions (scallions) sliced, plus extra to garnish
Preheat the oven grill on high heat (200°+). Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 7-8 minutes or until al dente. Drain, then run under the cold tap to cool. Set aside to drain further.
Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foamy. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until bubbles appear. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, for 5-7 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Add three-quarters of the cheese, then stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is lovely and smooth. Season with white pepper.
Add the kimchi, gochujang and spring onion to the white sauce, followed by the drained pasta. Stir well to combine – it should look wet and loose. Taste and season if necessary with salt and more white pepper.
Pour pasta mixture into a 2-litre baking dish, then sprinkle over the last of the shredded cheese. Bake for 5-7 minutes until lightly golden brown and bubbly. If desired, sprinkle with extra spring onions, then serve.