Monday, July 11, 2011

Cold Sesame Noodles with Garden Vegetables

You can serve these noodles warm or room temperature, but they are really great served cold on a hot night. At this time of year, I like to make them with snap peas and shredded carrots, but you can use other vegetables if you like. Later in the summer, sweet red peppers are delicious here.

1 lb linguine or other pasta
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp minced ginger root
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2-3 tsp chili paste or sriracha sauce (or to taste)
1-2 Tbsp honey or brown sugar
1 pint snap peas, stemmed
1-2 cups shredded carrots
Chopped fresh mint, cilantro, and/or Thai basil for topping (optional)

Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water. When done, drain and rinse with cold water until thoroughly cooled. Toss with canola oil and refrigerate until the sauce is ready.

Combine the garlic, ginger, tahini, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili paste or sriracha, and honey or sugar in the blender. Blend until smooth, adding water 1-2 Tbsp at a time until it reaches the desired consistency (it should be creamy and pourable but not runny).

Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding the snap peas and carrots until everything is coated. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (If you make these more than a few hours in advance, the sauce may thicken more than desired; in this case, drizzle the noodles with a small amount of water and toss until the sauce regains a good consistency.)

Serve cold, topped with chopped herbs if desired.

Serves about 6.

Variations: Add chopped scallions; add or substitute diced cucumber or halved cherry tomatoes.

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