Monday, March 3, 2014

Spicy Sesame Noodles

Not only does this spicy noodle dish bring back fond memories of living in New York, but it also curbs my cravings for take-out food.

Spicy Sesame Noodles | Taste As You Go
Spicy Sesame Noodles

When I lived in New York, I ordered more than my fair share of Chinese take-out. Especially after finding the Chinese restaurant within delivery range of my apartment with the best deal. Simply put, the Chinese take-out was affordable, consistently delicious, and at my door within 20 minutes, and since I learned how to order smartly in order to get the best bang for my buck, I could live off the leftovers for an entire week.

Oh, what a different time that was!

Spicy Sesame Noodles | Taste As You Go
Spicy Sesame Noodles

Of course, I'd order enough food to be eligible for one free appetizer, and I'd typically choose between the steamed pork dumplings or the cold sesame noodles. Oddly enough, the appetizer usually wound up being my dinner for that evening, and I'd just put everything else in the refrigerator for another meal. Except the egg roll... obviously, those things are best when they're hot (and not reheated).

Now that I'm older (and presumably wiser), I don't spend as much money on Chinese take-out. It probably has something to do with the internal obligation I feel to Stephen to provide home-made meals as much as possible. So, instead of giving into my cravings for Chinese take-out and feeding my obsession with the sesame noodles, I started searching for a recipe that would help me recreate my favorite sesame noodle dish in my own kitchen.

Luckily, it didn't take me too long to find this one. I love that you can serve the dish hot, fresh out of the pot for dinner or cold, fresh out of the refrigerator the next day. I've made it several times during the summer, doing the cooking in the evening when the temperatures were slightly lower and then serving it as a cold salad the following day when it was too hot to do much more than blink.

Spicy Sesame Noodles | Taste As You Go
Spicy Sesame Noodles

Of course, adjust the spice level to fit your personal tastes... just keep in mind that the flavors and spice level will intensify a bit in the refrigerator. If you're planning on making the noodles ahead of time to serve the next day, I'd recommend erring on the side of caution and going easy on the red pepper flakes. Especially if you're serving the noodles to someone who's not too keen on heat. ;-)

Spicy Sesame Noodles
Yield: 3-4 servings | Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (I prefer crunchy peanut butter here for extra texture)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 6 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts for topping (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cooking the linguine according to the package directions.
  2. While the linguine is cooking, heat the sesame oil and red pepper flakes in a small pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. 
  3. Strain the oil through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the pepper flakes and saving the oil.
  4. Stir the peanut butter into the hot oil until the peanut butter has melted and the ingredients are well combined.
  5. Whisk the honey and soy sauce into the peanut butter mixture until combined.
  6. When the linguine has finished cooking, drain the pasta (but do not rinse!) and place in a large bowl. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the pasta and toss until the linguine is well coated.
  7. Top with sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and chopped peanuts before serving, if desired. This dish can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. If you want to serve the noodles cold, then place them in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler | Taste As You Go // Adapted from Buns In My Oven | A Small Snippet

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