Fusing Korean zing with the most traditional of dishes takes a bit of bravery but, wow, is it worth it. We absolutely adore this dish; the only problem is portion control!
Kimchi, bacon, and Cheddar seem like an unlikely trio, but they all come together beautifully; the trick is to sauté the kimchi in butter to soften the funk.
Kimchi Bacon Mac and Cheese
4-6 slices bacon, diced
1 tbsp unsalted butter
400g kimchi (store-bought is fine), drained and chopped
3 tbsp plain flour
475-700ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
450g cooked short pasta, such as elbow macaroni, fusilli, or penne rigate
freshly ground black pepper
dash of hot sauce
225g grated Comté or Cheddar, or a combination of both
thinly sliced green onion to garnish
Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a large, oven-safe pan for about 7 minutes, until the bacon is cooked through and starting to crisp. If there’s more than 3 tbsp of rendered fat, omit adding the butter. Otherwise, add the butter. Add the chopped kimchi and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the kimchi, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add 475ml of the milk and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in the cooked pasta, pepper, and hot sauce, if using. Add a little more milk if too thick. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheeses. If the mixture is thick, add a little bit more milk. Taste and adjust seasoning as you add more milk. Garnish with green onion and serve at once.
Extracted from Everyday Korean by Kim Sunée and Seung Hee Lee (WW Norton, approx €27).