Korean Bulgogi Bolognese
with noodles / pickled cucumbers
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.
- 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, 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)
- Cucumbers - 8 oz, sliced
- Vinegar, rice - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 2 tsp
- Sesame seeds, white (opt) - 1 tsp
- 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)
- Carrots / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make sauce - Combine garlic, stock, soy sauce, Gochujang, and brown sugar. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Cucumbers - Slice cucumbers. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- 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.)
- Heat a wok or Dutch oven with oil over medium heat. Add carrots and saute for 1 minute to get carrots started cooking.
- To carrots, add beef and saute, breaking beef apart, until cooked through.
- 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.
- While sauce simmers, whisk together water and cornstarch.
- Pour water / cornstarch mixture into beef and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until sauce thickens.
- Drain liquid off pickles (discard liquid) and season the pickles with some salt.
- If noodles were made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
- Serve Korean bolognese (reserve half for Thursday) over noodles with pickles on the side. Enjoy!
I accidentally used reg soy sauce, and it made the dish a little salty in my opinion. Other than that it was a crowd pleaser! Even for my picky husband!!0 Helpful
Made the recipe as is. Loved the flavors and the soup made with the leftovers was really good.0 Helpful
Kid’s favourite, such a tasty meal for little effort.0 Helpful
So, so simple yet delicious! Definitely needed to spoon off the fat before adding the sauce. And I found I needed about twice as much cornstarch to thicken the sauce.0 Helpful
Very flavorful! We served it over rice noodles. Agree with the other suggestions of draining grease off before adding the sauce. I did it out of habit but there was quite a bit so I see how that could be off putting. Loved the pickles! My kids loved this meal (though they love everything over rice noodles, LOL).0 Helpful