Gochujang (고추장) is one of Korea’s most important “mother sauces.” It is the backbone of many popular recipes: 닭갈비 dakgalbi, 김치찌개 kimchi jjigae and 떡볶이 tteokbokki. It’s also used to make 쌈장 ssamjang, the quintessential barbecue condiment.

Gochujang‘s fermented yet sweet demeanor can also add some spicy backbone to your favorite marinara meat sauce.

Take note with this recipe: The sauce-to-pasta ratio is more Italian than American. Americans like lots of sauce on their pasta. Italians prefer lots of pasta for their sauce. This recipe leans towards the Italian style.

Gochujang Pasta

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Category: Modern Korean

Servings:  4 servings

Gochujang Pasta


  • 3 cups torchiette pasta*
  • 1/2 lb ground meat
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • chives for garnish
  • salt and pepper


  1. Put four quarts of water in a large pot on high heat. While the water is coming to a boil for the pasta, start on the sauce.
  2. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and chop the chives.
  3. Add chopped onion to a large skillet. Over medium heat, sauté until onions start to become translucent.
  4. Add the meat — I used ground turkey — and garlic. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously. Season with pepper.
  5. Add gochujang to the skillet and continue cooking until the gochujang is little bit caramelized.
  6. Add marinara sauce, and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed. Turn off the heat under the sauce.
  7. Water in the pot should be boiling now. Add enough salt, and pour in the pasta. Cook the pasta based on the directions on the box.
  8. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, transfer the pasta to the sauce. Mix the pasta with sauce well over low heat.
  9. Garnish the plated pasta with chopped chives.


Recipe by and adapted from Vera's Cookbook.

*You can use any short pasta which sauce can easily cling to, such as cappelletti, conchiglie, fusilli, pipe or rigatoni.

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