Kimchi Carbonara

June  1, 2021
12 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2
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.

Want to hear more about Korean-American food? On our new podcast Counterjam—a show that explores culture through food and music—host Peter J. Kim talks instant ramyeun hacks, kimchi-jjigae, cheonggukjang, and more with chef Roy Choi and comedian Margaret Cho—check out the episode here. Irene Yoo

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • student epicure
    student epicure
  • James Vaello
    James Vaello
  • Irene Yoo
    Irene Yoo
  • PastaGirl21
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.

7 Reviews

PastaGirl21 September 4, 2021
Sadly my partner did not like this, so I’ll be trying another version I found using pasta cream instead and see how it goes
Deb March 12, 2021
This is a great dish! I like to add shelled edamame to this (from the freezer, but thawed first) sort of in lieu of peas but also to up the veggies.
student E. April 19, 2019
I made this last night - it was pretty good. I agree with increasing the bacon. Next time, I'd also increase the kimchi.
James V. April 17, 2019
I made this tonight and it was awesome! I did make a few changes to it, but nothing too drastic. Three slices of bacon, not two. Next change was that I sliced up three large shitake mushroom and added it with my homemade kimchi to cook. Also used half Romano, half Parmesan and two large duck eggs (since I had some). I served it with Hakubaku organic ramen noodles and topped with a sprinkle of cheese and green onion. It was fantastic!

I'll bet the recipe would be brilliant on its own without my changes, I just can't leave well enough alone!
Irene Y. April 19, 2019
awesome, your changes sound so delicious! that's the great thing about this recipe – infinitely adaptable to whatever you have lying around ;)
Claudia April 17, 2019
My entire family enjoyed this for dinner tonight. It will be on regular rotation from now. Though I might have to try that tip with the crushed Doritos on top next time.
Ann K. April 17, 2019
Honestly really didn't like this. It was too salty and too cheesy for me. I didn't like the kimchi/cheese combo.