When a friend recently mentioned that his son adds left-over kimchi to his spaghetti, it sounded so good that I wanted to try it myself. I must say that I have cooked and enjoyed Korean food mostly in the traditional ways, but lately I’ve had a growing interest in fusion dishes. The inspiration comes from all the hype surrounding Korean fusion dishes such as Korean BBQ tacos, kimchi quesadillas, hamburgers and hot dogs.
For my Italian/Korean fusion dish, I decided to make a tomato based sauce with kimchi flavor. I used pork belly which always goes well with kimchi, but Italian sausage or pancetta would work well too. To build more depth into the flavor, I added anchovies, a common ingredient in both Italian and Korean cuisines. The flavor combination worked really well as I had hoped. The kimchi added a unique spiciness to the sauce without overpowering it. It was easy to make but still so delicious! This will be perfect for a quick week-night meal.
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil (if not available, add a few fresh basil leaves)
4 ounces fresh pork belly, finely chopped
3/4 cup well-fermented kimchi, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 pound spaghetti
2 scallions, coarsely chopped
Grated parmesan cheese
Season the pork belly with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the pork to the pan and cook until lightly brown. Add kimchi and sauté for 4 minutes. Mix in crushed tomatoes, anchovies, and oregano. Simmer sauce over medium-low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Add the sauce and scallions and toss to combine over low heat for 2 minutes. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Serve immediately.