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Kimchi Mac & Cheese

By: David Tisue | The Surveyor | May 20, 2022 | Local News

Kimchi Mac and Cheese

Kimchi Mac and cheese is creamy and zippy in all the right ways, a fusion of American and Korean food that will make your taste buds happy.

Kimchi Mac and Cheese is creamy and zippy in all the right ways. It is a fusion of American and Korean food that will make your taste buds happy. If you follow me at all, you know I adore Korean food. I love the food combinations and flavors from this remarkable country. Kimchi can be intimidating. The idea of fermenting cabbage and other vegies with spices and eating it can take some getting used to. But if you’ve never tried it, you are definitely missing out on one of the best flavor profiles in Korean cooking. Adding it to a creamy Mac and cheese is tantalizing!

Mac and cheese is an American staple, and everyone makes a version. Even people who can’t cook usually can manage to make some from a box, but this recipe is special and worth the effort. Though it has some Korean elements, it would be as good to serve with almost anything from good juicy burgers to a roast chicken.

I used the Kimchi from a little can I discovered on a popular cooking channel in England called Sorted Food on YouTube. PKWK Kimchi is a fantastic kimchi, full of flavor, not overpoweringly spicy, and perfect for cooking with. They used it in a cooking challenge, and I agree with the channel that the flavor is fantastic without being too spicy or overpowering. As Goldilocks would say: “It is just right.” It comes in a 5.6 oz can, and you can find it on Amazon. One can is the perfect amount for this recipe. If you can’t find this little can of kimchi goodness you can substitute any jarred Kimchi, just make sure and chop it into ½ inch pieces.

This Kimchi Mac and Cheese bakes up bubbly with a crispy topping of Panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese to make it a fantastic side dish or even a meal with a salad. Heck, it would be incredible for a picnic, too. I hope you give this tasty Mac and cheese a try. Please stay healthy and safe out there. We all need to get through this together and thinking of others in your choices goes a long way in achieving that goal. Until next time!

Kimchi Mac and Cheese

1 lb curly pasta, I used Cavatappi pasta

1 can PKWK Kimchi (5.6 oz) or ½ cup of your favorite Kimchi chopped into ½ pieces

¼ cup butter, 4 tablespoons

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups ½ and ½

1 whole egg, beaten

3 cups shredded sharp cheddar, about 12 0z

2 cups shredded Jack or Havarti, about 8 oz

1 cup parmesan shredded, divided

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon Gochujang, Korean chili Paste

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

½ cup chopped green onions

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package to the al dente stage, reserve 1½ cups pasta cooking water.

Drain the pasta and reserve.

Butter a rectangular 13×9 or round baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 350°

While the pasta is cooking, If your kimchi is large pieces, dice into ½ inch chunks. For PKWK it is already chopped perfectly.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add the finely chopped kimchi, and let it sauté stirring occasionally for 7 minutes to let the flavors bloom and the liquid reduce.

Sprinkle the flour over the kimchi and butter mixture and let cook, constantly stirring for a minute.

Slowly pour in the ½ and ½ and the reserved pasta cooking liquid, stirring constantly and using a whisk if you have one.

Cook for 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened and it is bubbly.

Reduce the heat to low.

Take ½ cup of the hot mixture and stir it into the beaten egg. Do this quickly so as to not curdle the egg.

Pour the egg mixture into the kimchi mixture, stirring constantly until thoroughly combined.

Stir in the cheddar and the jack or Havarti cheeses and ½ cup of the parmesan cheese. Continue to stir until the cheeses have melted and blended into the sauce.

Add the salt, pepper, gochujang, and the garlic powder. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Combine the breadcrumbs, green inions, and the remaining parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the mac and cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until it is bubbling, and the breadcrumbs have toasted nicely.

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