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Korean Bulgogi Bolognese
with noodles / pickled cucumbers

Active: 40 minTotal: 50 min

Bolognese (which is usually served with Italian meals) is a rich and flavorful meat sauce that lends itself well to this Korean-inspired twist. Using the sweet and savory flavors of Korean beef bulgogi, this sauce is great served over any Asian noodles.
Smarts #1: Make a double batch of Bulgogi Bolognese tonight and the leftovers will become an easy, fast base for Thursday night's soup.
Smarts #2: This recipe could be made in the Instant Pot. For tips, join the Cook Smarts Instant Pot Facebook Group.

Tags

Ingredients

Servings:
4
Metric
Korean Bulgogi Bolognese (enough for 2 nights):
  • Carrots - 8 oz, diced
  • Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
  • Stock, low-sodium beef - 1 cup (sub any type stock)
  • Soy sauce, low-sodium - 1/2 cup
  • Gochujang - 2 Tbsp
  • Brown sugar - 1 Tbsp
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
  • Beef, ground and lean - 2 lbs
  • Water - 1 Tbsp
  • Cornstarch - 2 tsp
Noodles:
  • Noodles, ramen - 8 oz, if using Instant Ramen, discard flavor packets (sub any type of Asian noodle like soba or dried udon or use dried spaghetti)
Pickled Cucumbers:
  • Cucumbers - 8 oz, sliced
  • Vinegar, rice - 1/2 cup
  • Sugar - 2 tsp
  • Sesame seeds, white (opt) - 1 tsp

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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Prep

  1. Noodles - (Note: If prepping right before cooking, do the rest of the prep steps and get sauce simmering before cooking noodles.) Cook noodles according to package directions. If making ahead, toss the noodles with some oil to help prevent them from sticking. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Carrots / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Make sauce - Combine garlic, stock, soy sauce, Gochujang, and brown sugar. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  4. Cucumbers - Slice cucumbers. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  5. Make pickles - (Note: The longer ahead you make the pickles, the more tart and “pickle-y” they’ll be. You can also wait and toss this together 30 minutes before serving if you’d like them to retain their crunch and just be lightly dressed.) Whisk together vinegar and sugar. Combine cucumbers and sesame seeds in a small bowl or jar. Pour liquid over top. (It’s okay if the cucumbers aren’t completely submerged in liquid, but you want them mostly covered. Add some more rice vinegar if needed.) (Can be done up to 3 days ahead.)

Make

  1. Heat a wok or Dutch oven with oil over medium heat. Add carrots and saute for 1 minute to get carrots started cooking.
  2. To carrots, add beef and saute, breaking beef apart, until cooked through.
  3. Pour sauce over beef and stir to combine everything. Bring to a simmer and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes to let the flavors come together.
  4. While sauce simmers, whisk together water and cornstarch.
  5. Pour water / cornstarch mixture into beef and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until sauce thickens.
  6. Drain liquid off pickles (discard liquid) and season the pickles with some salt.
  7. If noodles were made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
  8. Serve Korean bolognese (reserve half for Thursday) over noodles with pickles on the side. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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Reviews

This meal has 58 reviews

Yum! It was a hit in our home. Plus, super quick.

By: Jamie
Posted: Feb 19, 2020
Diet: Gluten-free

Didn't really care for this. It's super super greasy.

By: Chelsea
Posted: Feb 18, 2020
Diet: Original

Great beef and cucumbers! My family loved it. I added a bit more veggies (onions, celery) and gochujang. Served over rice. Will make again. Easy and novel.

By: Ann
Posted: Feb 18, 2020
Diet: Original

After all of the mostly positive reviews, I had to make this one a couple weeks late. Accidentally doubled the carrots (I REALLY wish meals with dependencies were written as stand-alone recipes - I didn't make the second meal and ended up buying double the ingredients and nearly prepped doubly as well). Used mirin for the cucumbers since I was almost out of rice vinegar (surprise!).

By: Angela
Posted: Feb 13, 2020
Diet: Original

This is excellent, husband loved it. Put it on rice. Was not difficult to make part with the spicy and part without for the toddlers. Added kimchi topping to it also. Next time would like to try it with actual thin sliced beef like we are used to seeing in bulgogi. I had to double the cornstarch to get it thickened enough. Doubled the garlic.

By: Kristine
Posted: Feb 13, 2020
Diet: Original

This one was okay, but no one in the family loved it. For me, it was way too salty (even with using low sodium soy sauce).

By: Melanie
Posted: Feb 13, 2020
Diet: Original