Creamy Doenjang Pasta
Soybean pastes and noodles make good friends, as in Alexa Weibel’s Five-Ingredient Creamy Miso Pasta. This version leans into the funkier, saltier flavor of doenjang, a Korean soybean paste whose pungency is an absolute pleasure in jjigaes, sauces and even bread made in a can. Here, doenjang is tempered by the natural sweetness of milk, which stars in many Korean takes on Italian pasta. The milk thickens as it mixes with the starchy noodles and creates a velvety sauce, one that tastes rich but measured — with a rounded cheesy quality. It will seem like a lot of liquid at first, but the milk will reduce. The finished pasta sauce will continue to thicken once it’s off the heat: add more pasta water if it starts to look dry.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1pound linguine, bucatini or spaghetti
- 2cups whole milk
- 4tablespoons doenjang (see Tip)
- 2tablespoons mirin
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4tablespoons unsalted butter
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
Step 1Bring a large, wide pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high. Cook the pasta until about 2 minutes shy of al dente (according to package instructions); it should still be a little uncooked in the center and will finish cooking in the sauce later. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and return it to the empty pot. While the pasta is cooking, pour the milk into a large liquid measuring cup or medium bowl. Whisk in the doenjang, mirin and a generous crack of black pepper until the doenjang dissolves.
Step 2To the pasta pot, add the butter, milk mixture and half of the pasta water. Bring to a simmer over high. Cook, stirring constantly and vigorously with a wooden spoon, until the sauce reduces and thickens significantly, coating the noodles like thin cream, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste and season with salt if needed.
Step 3Divide among serving plates and top with as much grated Parmesan as you’d like and another crack of black pepper. Serve immediately.