Monday, June 21, 2010

Szechuan Noodles

Getting to make this recipe was a very tangential process. So, bear with me.
1. On Friday, Mike made an Asian Mango Chutney served over chicken. He busted out the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili sauce. It was a great summer, tangy sauce!
2. On Saturday, I saw a Barefoot Contessa episode where she made Szechuan Noodles. She was making the sauce in her food processor (her signature kitchen tool). After she threw five or six ingredients in, she said, "We're halfway there!" Whoa! Talk about involved!
3. I had a plethora of veggies to use up in the fridge.

We had some asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, and onions in the fridge. We threw those bad boys in the oven to roast, cooked up some skirt steak, boiled some noodles, compiled, and voila!!! You haven't tasted complex until you've had Ina's Szechuan sauce! Sweet, spicy, pretty much sums up "Umami" in a single sauce.

I made a whole batch of the sauce, but only 1/2 lb of noodles - with an over-abundance of veggies. As such, I had enough sauce to marinate some chicken for another day. I took a page from FishMama's book and froze the chicken right in the marinade!

Szechuan Noodles
from Ina Garten

6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup good soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
4 scallions, sliced diagonally (white and green parts)

Place the garlic and ginger in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the vegetable oil, tahini, peanut butter, soy sauce, sherry, sherry vinegar, honey, chili oil, sesame oil, and ground peppers. Puree the sauce.

Add a splash of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook the spaghetti al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander, place it in a large bowl, and while still warm, toss with 3/4 of the sauce. Add the red and yellow bell peppers and scallions; toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature. The remaining sauce may be added, as needed, to moisten the pasta.

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