Korean Spaghetti

I’m usually pretty organized when it comes to what’s for dinner.  I make a weekly menu on Saturday, do my shopping on Sunday and I’m set for the week.  Every day is accounted for on my weekly menu, even if one of the days is “dinner out”.

Unfortunately, even with weekly planning, nothing is fail proof.  Take two weeks ago.  (Yeah, yeah I’m behind.  Virus, remember?)  It was Thursday night and Soso’s hungry as usual and I had no idea what was for dinner.  Maybe I forgot to defrost something, or we didn’t have enough left-overs. Whatever the reason, I had to think fast.

I always have plenty of pasta in the pantry.  I had one red pepper, 1/2 onion, some garlic, a bunch of young spinach, a couple of scallions, a package of white shimeji or better known as beech mushrooms and some left-over marinated bul-go-gi meat in the fridge.

I decided to make “jap chae” using spaghetti, hence “Korean Spaghetti.”

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet. A wok would be better, but mine’s in terrible condition and I don’t use it often. Add a couple of cloves of minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.

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Add sliced sweet onions and sauté until the onions are coated in oil and starts getting tender.

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Add sliced red pepper. You can use whatever you have, but red adds a nice pop. Sauté until the peppers start to get tender.

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Add the mushroom (broken up) and stir until tender.

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Finally, add a couple of stalks of scallions cut into 1 inch pieces and stir another minute. Salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from pan and keep warm.

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If I was using a wok, I would have just cooked the spinach together with the other ingredients. But even my large skillet is too small to fit everything.

Place the spinach in the pan and using a spatula, press down until it starts to wilt. These are very young, tender spinach so they cook fast. If you are using regular spinach, it may take a little longer.

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Oops, now that I’m looking the photos again, I think I’m using my medium-sized pan. Flip the spinach over and cook the other side. Press down again for a minute.  Sprinkle some salt and set aside with the pepper mixture.

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I know that most people won’t have some bul-go-gi conveniently in the refrigerator.  But if you do, this is when you fry them. If you don’t, no worries. Bul-go-gi gives this a particularly Korean taste, but this can be made completely vegan/vegetarian.

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Make a dressing with 3 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil.

At this point the pasta should be ready. Drain and put back in the pot. Add all the cooked ingredients to the pasta, along with the dressing and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds before serving.

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Korean Spaghetti

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Prep Time: 15 mins      Cook Time: 20 mins

Serves: 4 – 6

Ingredients

1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 medium or 1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
1 bell pepper (I prefer red for color), deribbed, seeded and sliced thin
1 – 1 1/2 cup mushroom of your choice, sliced (If using beech, just slice off the bottom to break up the bunch, but leave them whole)
2 stalks scallion (green onions), green part sliced 1 inch pieces, white part, sliced half lengthwise first, then sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 small bunch spinache or 1/2 package of bagged spinache
1 cup marinated bul-go-gi meat, cut into smaller pieces, optional

For the dressing, mix together:
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seed, set aside to sprinkle on top

Directions

Set a pot to boil cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, cook the rest of the ingredients. The key here is to cook most of the ingredients together in one pan.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil.  Add garlic and saute until the garlic starts becoming fragrant. Add onions and stir 1 minute. Add peppers and stir just before tender. Add the mushrooms and stir until just tender. Add the scallions and stir until it is tender. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside and keep warm.

Cook the spinach by layering in the pan. Press down on the spinach with a large spatula to speed up the cooking/wilting process. Flip and cook the other side and set aside with the pepper mixture.

Next, saute the meat until cooked. Add the meat, the vegetable mixture with the cooked pasta. Pour the dressing and mix thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle sesame seeds before serving.

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