Spicy Pumpkin Pork Noodles


This incredible Asian-style noodle dish features a very unusual combination of pumpkin and Korean chile paste which makes for one of the most delicious noodle dishes I've had in a long time. It's the perfect recipe for fall, but really, can be enjoyed any time of the year.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

Spicy Pumpkin Pork Noodles –Accidental Perfection

I was playing around with ideas for using pumpkin in a spicy Asian-style noodle dish, which was originally going to be roasted pieces of everyone's favorite seasonal gourd tossed with the noodles and sauce, but a terrible thing happened during the test. Yes, a terrible, very fortuitous thing. The cubes of pumpkin were too soft, and basically dissolved into the sauce. And, it was perfect.

By the way, that's our little secret, since I'm fine with the general public thinking it was simply a stroke of recipe development genius. The other, intentional stroke of recipe development genius was using bucatini for the noodles. Any pasta or other noddle would work just fine here, but the hollow spaghetti did a wonderful job of sucking up all that lovely sauce, and I loved the final texture of the dish.

If you don't want to roast a sugar pumpkin, a can of pure pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) would be acceptable. Alternatively, leftover kabocha, butternut, or acorn squash would also be great choices. Depending on the brand, you may have to adjust the Korean chili paste amounts, but you'll figure that out. You can also add seasonal greens to this, as well as switch up the meat choice for the topping. Regardless of how you adapt this, I loved how it came out, and I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Pork Topping:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 8 ounces ground pork

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • cup sliced green onions

  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Noodles and Sauce:

  • 6 ounces bucatini (dry)

  • 1 tablespoon reserved oil from cooking pork

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree

  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)

  • ½ cup sliced green onions

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons diced hot chile peppers

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook pork, while breaking up into small pieces, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika and keep cooking and stirring until pork is crumble and is browned up, about 5 minutes.

  2. Lower heat to medium and add garlic and green onions. Cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Mix in hoisin sauce and cook until sauce has glazed over all the pork pieces, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer pork topping to a bowl.

  3. Pour out cooking grease but leave 1 tablespoon of grease in the skillet. Add pumpkin puree, gochujang, green onions, sesame oil, and chili peppers. Cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook bucatini the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Fish out noodles and drop into the skillet with the pumpkin sauce. Reserve about 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.

  5. Squeeze lime juice on top of the noodles. Add about 2 tablespoons pasta water on top and mix noodles with the sauce until well combined. Keep adding pasta water, a little at a time, until sauce has reached your preferred consistency.

  6. Turn off heat and stir in chopped cilantro. Transfer noodles to a plate and top with ground pork.

    Spicy Pumpkin Pork Noodles
    Chef John

Cook's Notes:

If you are doing the pumpkin puree from scratch, roast a sugar pumpkin at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) until very soft, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

You can use any other dry noodles instead of bucatini. Just cook in salted water until tender. Make sure you fish pasta out of the water and transfer it into the skillet, since cooking water needs to be reserved, and used to adjust sauce.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

787 Calories
33g Fat
90g Carbs
32g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 787
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 10g 52%
Cholesterol 82mg 27%
Sodium 470mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 90g 33%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Protein 32g
Potassium 843mg 18%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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