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Baked Mac & KimCheese

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Two of the greatest fermented foods known to human-kind: cheese and kimchi. Why not marry them? Bring this savory and spicy dish to your next potluck or holiday celebration for a fresh spin on a comforting classic! Easily double the dish if brought to a large gathering.

Recipe and Photography by Sam Burgess

CHI Kitchen Foods

Servings: 6-8

 Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon gochugaru (Korean chili flake), optional
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the dish 
  • 8 ounces dry elbow macaroni
  • 2-¾ cups milk 
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoons kosher salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2-½ cups (10 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 cup CHI Kitchen Napa Kimchi
  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉ degrees. Lightly butter a 1.5-quart casserole dish and set aside. 
  2. Place breadcrumbs and gochugaru (Korean chili flake) in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan on the stove or bowl in the microwave, melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Pour melted butter over the breadcrumb mixture and mix to combine. Set aside.
  3. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add elbow macaroni pasta and cook 2 fewer minutes than the box directions, or until the outside of pasta is done but the inside is still firm. Transfer macaroni to a colander and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium heat. In a large high-sided skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and whisk in flour. Cook, stirring, until everything is combined, about 1 minute. Slowly pour hot milk into the flour mixture, whisking constantly, until the milk is incorporated and the mixture thickens.
  5. Remove the pan from heat and stir in salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dijon mustard, 2 cups of grated white cheddar, ½ cup grated pecorino Romano, and ½ cup of the CHI Kitchen Napa Kimchi. Stir partially cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce.
  6. Pour the macaroni mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup Napa Kimchi over the top, followed by the remaining ½ cup white cheddar, ½ cup pecorino Romano, and finally all the spiced breadcrumbs. 
  7. Bake until breadcrumbs are browned on top, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!

Chef’s Notes:

  • The Chi Kitchen Napa Kimchi contains fish sauce, so substitute with our Vegan Kimchi if cooking for vegetarians!
  • There is plenty of salt in the kimchi and cheese, so no need to salt the water while cooking the elbow macaroni pasta.
  • This dish can be prepared up to step 6 and refrigerated for up to two days until ready to cook and serve. Heat the oven to the same 375℉ degrees and bake until warmed through and browned on top.

Napa Kimchi

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