Recipe Review

I Tried Eric Kim’s Creamy Roasted Seaweed Pantry Pasta and I Can’t Get Enough of Its Flavor

published May 29, 2022
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I Tried It Eric Kim's Creamy Bucatini With Roasted Seaweed
Credit: Abigail Abesamis Demarest

On a typical weeknight, I’ll throw together a dish made with whatever I can find in my fridge and pantry. Sometimes, I’ll even combine favorite ingredients in a way I’ve never done before, and it feels like magic when they come together to create a tasty new dish. As someone who loves using pantry staples to put together a weeknight dish, I knew I had to try Eric Kim’s creamy bucatini with roasted seaweed recipe when I saw it on Bon Appétit.

The recipe comes from Kim’s bestselling cookbook, Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home, and is described by the author as being “a simple, perfect, little black dress of a pantry dish.” It has only three steps and comes together in about 15 minutes, plus it has a nice balance of flavors and textures and looks beautiful on a plate. One ingredient that stuck out to me specifically (and one that comes up in several of his other recipes), is gim: dried seaweed seasoned with salt and sesame oil. It’s clear that for Kim, roasted seaweed is more than just a snack — and this recipe has made me a believer.

Credit: Abigail Abesamis Demarest

How to Make Creamy Bucatini with Roasted Seaweed

You’ll start by cooking bucatini or spaghetti in a pot of salted boiling water just until it’s pliable — about five minutes less than the package directions call for. Drain and reserve some of the pasta water, then put the pasta back into the pot.

Next, add heavy cream, grated garlic (I minced my garlic because it was too soft to grate), and pasta water to the pasta. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then cook until the pasta is al dente and the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Stir in toasted sesame oil, then add salt to taste. Kim notes that the pasta should be well-seasoned in order to bring out the seaweed’s natural salinity.

All that’s left to do is plate the dish. Divide the pasta between two plates (I used these gorgeous handmade pasta bowls by Jono Pandolfi) and top with black pepper, flaky sea salt, and crushed gim or toasted nori sheets.

My Honest Review of Creamy Bucatini with Roasted Seaweed

This dish is incredible. I made it for lunch once already this week, and I’m making it again because I can’t stop thinking about it. It checks off so many boxes for me — it’s quick and easy to make, uses ingredients I already have on hand, and looks and tastes fancy and complex. The creamy garlicky sauce, the tender pasta, the crunch of the flaky sea salt, and the mix of crunchy and soft seaweed as it melted into the dish definitely give this humble pasta dish a chef-y feel. I will definitely be adding this dish to my regular rotation.

Credit: Abigail Abesamis Demarest

4 Tips for Making Creamy Bucatini with Roasted Seaweed

  1. Non-dairy milk and oil are a great vegan substitute for heavy cream. I’m sensitive to dairy, and found out that you can substitute heavy cream with two parts non-dairy milk and one part oil. This resulted in a creamy sauce that coated the bucatini, and my husband thought I made it with butter.
  2. Feel free to change up the pasta shape. Because this is meant to be a pantry recipe, use what you’ve got. I don’t typically have bucatini on hand, and other long pasta shapes like linguine or fettuccine would also work just fine. Shapes like rotini or penne are also suitable options, too.
  3. If you’re using plain toasted nori, add more salt and sesame oil. As mentioned in the intro, gim is seasoned roasted seaweed, while nori is typically unseasoned. So if you’re using unseasoned seaweed, balance the flavor with a bit more salt and sesame oil.
  4. Use a shallow pan for the sauce. Using a saucepan (rather than the large pot you used to boil the pasta) will help the sauce to thicken more quickly, as there is more surface area exposed. Doing this means it’s no longer a one-pot recipe, but I found that it helped ensure that I didn’t overcook the pasta.