Kimchi Carbonara

April 15, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

More often than not I will have all the necessities in the fridge: a nub of Parmesan cheese, a few strips of bacon, definitely some eggs, and always the H-Mart gallon sized tub of kimchi that permanently resides on the bottom shelf. If we’ve grocery shopped that week, we will have remembered to purchase a few cartons of Sun Noodle fresh ramen, the exact brand that supplies noodles to most of the ramen joints in New York City, and the perfectly springy noodle for this dish. The whole thing cooks in just 15 minutes, minimizing time slaved over the stove and maximizing weeknight Netflix binging. —Irene Yoo

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: 15-Minute Kimchi Pasta, the All-Star in My Weeknight Repertoire. —The Editors

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2
  • 2 strips good, thick-slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 cup well-fermented kimchi, chopped
  • 8 to 10 ounces fresh ramen noodles, such as Sun Ramen, or any similar pasta
  • 2 large organic, cage-free eggs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped scallions, optional
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. (I don't salt the water because Sun Ramen noodles are alkaline and the dish itself is already pretty salty, but if using other noodles, definitely salt your water once it comes to a boil.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, cook bacon over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until lightly crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and set aside, reserving about 2 tablespoons of fat in pan.
  3. Add chopped kimchi to the bacon fat and sauté over medium heat until softened and lightly caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside with the bacon.
  4. By now the water should be boiling. Add the noodles to the pot and cook according to package instructions.
  5. As noodles are cooking, whisk together eggs, cheese, and black pepper in a bowl until combined.
  6. When the noodles are done cooking, use a coffee mug with a handle to reserve about 1 cup's worth of pasta water.
  7. Now you will have to work quickly! Drain noodles and add to the bowl with eggs, mixing quickly so the eggs don't scramble.
  8. Once combined, add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pasta water, along with the cooked kimchi-bacon mixture. Mix thoroughly until the sauce comes together—it should be thick and creamy.
  9. Add a few more cranks of black pepper and Parmesan cheese to taste. Divide among two serving bowls and top with chopped scallions if using. Serve immediately.

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Irene runs a monthly Brooklyn-based pop-up series called Yooeating, with new takes on Korean home cooking, street food, and drinking culture by pairing with other culinary cuisines that feel like home.