The fifth day of tteok: Arrabbiata tteokbokki
For the fifth day of my 12-day tteokbokki recipe countdown to the Korean New year, I combined the tasty rice noodles with an Italian pasta sauce called Arrabiata.
The word arrabiata literally means “angry sauce” and comes from the southern part of the Italian peninsula. This is the first Italian — and probably only — Italian sauce I’ve made that might make a Korean sweat or want to blow the nose.
1 pound garae tteok noodles (presoaked)
1 teaspoon Korean pepper powder (gochugaru) or hot paprika
1 teaspoon Italian red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup red wine (use a wine that you’d actually drink)
1 can (14.5 ounces) chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
First, soak your garae tteok (가래떡), which are the fat cylindrical rice noodles traditionally used in tteokbokki, in a hot-water bath — not boiling water — for 10 minutes. (Check the instructions on the package of tteok you bought at the Korean grocery store for recommendations on this step.) While the garae tteok are soaking, start on your Arrabiata sauce.Warning: Several recipes for Arrabiata sauce I read start off something like this: “Saute the gochugaru and red pepper flakes in about 3 tbsp. olive oil. Add garlic and saute until you start to smell garlic in your kitchen.” Do this at your own risk. Unless you have a commercial kitchen with a heavy-duty exhaust fan, you will mace yourself and your family — and possibly set off your fire alarm. That’s not a good first step, unless you want your spouse, children and family pets to be very angry with you.
Start the sauce preparation with approximately three tablespoons of olive oil in your sauce pan. Add garlic and saute until you start to smell garlic in your kitchen. Add the onions, and saute them until they are nearly translucent. At this point, add the gochugaru, Italian red pepper flakes and tomatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Next, get out the stick blender and blend the sauce until it is relatively smooth.
Finally, add the presoaked tteok and simmer for about five to 10 more minutes until the garae tteok are cooked.