After enjoying the kimchi quesadillas, I thought kimchi Mac & cheese would be fantastic. I did really like it too, but I made a few adjustments that I think really improved the recipe over the one printed below. First of all, I needed a bit more milk to turn the roux in to a sauce creamy enough for the pasta. I also added a bit more cheese but only because I had grated a little over the cup called for. But by far the most important change I made was I minced up some kimchi (raw) and garnished the pasta with about 1/2-1 tbsp. if not for that, I think the kimchi flavor would have been mostly lost. The raw garnish took it from a meh, to good! I do think there are still some tweaks I would make next time I make this. It is bland without the garnish, good with, and could be great. I am not sure just what other tweaks I would make, but I still think of this as fixable since I needed to make some adjustments in the original recipe.
1 1/4 Cup kimchi chopped into 1-in pieces
2 1/2 Cup medium shell pasta
2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl flour
3/4 Cup milk
1 Cup sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil (optional)
Boil a pot filled with salted water on high heat.
When the water is boiling, add the pasta and stir every few minutes to make sure the shells dont stick to each other. Check for doneness a minute or two before the packaged directions.
When the shells are at your preferred doneness, empty the water over a colander in the sink. DO NOT rinse with cold water, just place it in a bowl. You can toss with a little bit of olive oil to make sure the shells dont stick. Set aside.
Use a frying pan or wide saucepan to warm the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter has almost melted, throw in the chopped kimchi and mix thoroughly with the butter. Spread evenly over the pan and wait for the white cabbage parts to become translucent, 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the flour. Mix gently into the kimchiit will get clumped, but its okay!
Slowly pour the milk into the pan while stirring constantly. If you have difficulty doing both at the same time, its okay to pour in a little bit of milk then stir and take turns between the two. The most
important part of making this sauce is that the heat is lower and that you mix the liquid completely into the flour. At first, the milk will form a thick pastebut will eventually become a nice, creamy sauce
After the milk has been added and stirred into the flour and kimchi, add the cheese. Stir gently until the cheese has been fully incorporated into the sauce. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as you prefer. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stovetop. Mix your pasta into the pan full of cheese sauce, then pour into a serving dish or individual bowls and top with smoked paprika.
Kimchi mac n cheese is delicious reheated, and can keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.