Hello! How is your June going? I can’t believe summer is upon us, although here in California we are just breaking out of May Grey and June Gloom – a period of endless cloudy skies for days on end. Yup, it’s not all sunshine all the time here! Wow, what a year and a half. How is everyone doing? It’s been rough I know for many, but it seems like things are finally starting to turn in a more positive direction. I myself haven’t been cooking nearly like what I used to pre-Covid. Something about the never-ending groundhog days just made me have no real enthusiasm for it. Don’t get me wrong, I still made some great meals, but many nights it was something simple, no recipe…just get it on the table and eat!

This recipe is one of those, “just get it on the table and eat” WHILE still being absolutely delicious, indulgent and special when you are having a crappy day and just craving some comfort food. See video above if you don’t believe me! It reminds me somewhat of a vodka sauce but with an even spicier kick thanks to the addition of Koren red chili paste (aka Gochujang). The cream and butter add to the comfort factor while the freshly roasted tomatoes add a nice fresh bite. I found the recipe on Eater – it’s by Joy Cho – read her inspiration for this recipe here. It’s quite delicious and I hope you enjoy!


  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I used three cause I love garlic)
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red Chile paste), depending on your preference (I would start with 1 1/2 tablespoons and go from there depending on your spice preference)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup freshly grated Parm cheese
  • Honey (few tablespoons) to sweeten up the acid from the tomatoes
  • 8 oz. rigatoni

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cherry tomatoes on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until they soften and begin to burst (keep the juice as I added everything from the roasting pan to the sauce).

While tomatoes are roasting, it’s time to work on the sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add in the garlic. Cook until fragrant and then add in the tomato paste and gochujang. Increase the heat a bit and cook for about 3-5 minutes allowing the tomato paste and gochujang to caramelize a bit being careful not to burn.

Add in the heavy cream and chicken or veggie stock and allow the mixture to come to a low simmer. Continue stirring until the cream and stock have fully incorporated with the tomato paste and gochujang (3-4 minutes). Reduce the heat to a medium-low setting and add in your parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Season with salt and a few tablespoons of honey which always helps to balance out any acid or too much heat. Yum!

Continue to reduce sauce slowly until it thickens (about 5 minutes) and add in your roasted tomatoes (with any cooking juice on the pan). Save some of your pasta cooking water to add to the sauce as well. Once your pasta has finished cooking, add it to the sauce, incorporate a little pasta cooking water and cook a tiny bit til everything completely comes together. Add in a a few more shakes of parmesan and black pepper if you like, even some freshly torn basil on top would be delish!

This sauce is great for a June gloom day I have to say. Pure comfort! Enjoy!

2 thoughts

  1. Love to see any Korean inspired dishes. Will definitely give this a try as soon as I can find those super ripe, red, cherry tomatoes.


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