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Sometimes I find myself projecting into dinner what I really want out of life – and this pasta has some really big energy about it. It’s got all the fun and emotion of watching the Golden Buzzers on Britain’s Got Talent and (nearly) all the maddening excitement of a first kiss with someone you really fancy. It’s a dish that is so extra, it’s the type of thing you should be eating in your bikini while drinking a magnum of rosé, not in Hebden Bridge (or wherever you live), but on a beach on Mykonos. In short, I want a little bit more of what this pasta has to offer.
Vodka gochujang rigatoni
Gochujang is a sweet, hot Korean red pepper paste, sold in nearly all major supermarkets.. It’s not blow-your-socks-off hot, though, especially when tempered with cream.
Prep 5 min
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 red onion, peeled and very finely sliced
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
1 x 400g passata, or finely chopped tinned tomatoes
1 tbsp gochujang
1 tbsp tomato puree
175ml oat-based single cream – I like Oatly
Put the oil in a large frying pan on a medium-to-high heat, add the onion and salt, and cook, stirring, for eight minutes, until the onion is soft enough to cut easily with a wooden spoon.
Add the garlic, fry for two minutes, then add the passata, gochujang, tomato puree and half the vodka, and leave it all to bubble away for 10 minutes, until the mix is quite paste-like. Stir in the cream and the rest of the vodka, simmer for a couple of minutes, then take off the heat.
Cook the rigatoni for a minute less than the packet instructions. Carefully scoop a mug (around 250ml) of the cooking water out of the pasta pan, put this to one side, then drain the pasta.
Pop the sauce back on the heat, stir in the pasta and all of the reserved pasta cooking water, then let it bubble away for a couple of minutes, until the sauce is nice and thick and clinging to the pasta. Taste for seasoning, add a little salt, if need be, and serve hot.