Thursday, 9 July 2009

Ina's Szechuan Noodles

I have to admit, I have a thing for noodles. They are up there with bread as comfort food, and if it weren't for the fact that I am cooking for more than just myself, I would probably have them almost every day. Luckily the pasta producers of the world are getting better at creating whole grain and multi grain noodles, and these healthier pastas can be substituted in most of your favourite dishes.
Last night I made these Asian noodles from Ina Garten. They are somewhat similar to Tyler Florence's sesame noodles and can be served warm, cold, or room temperature. They were great with grilled shrimp, and I garnished them with some Thai basil from my garden. I eat it flowers and all, they are pretty and taste great.

Szechuan Noodles
Ina Garten
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

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.
*I used multi grain spaghetti, and subbed out the honey and hot chili oil for sweet chili sauce. I also ground some Szechuan pepper over the dish after for some bite.