Mmm. . . cold spaghetti! July 6, 2011Posted by Toy Lady in Cook's Illustrated, Cooking, Food, random stuff.
Do you ever have a day that’s just hot and sticky and the last thing you want to do is eat something hot?
Or maybe you just want a light lunch, something that will be a little more substantial than a salad, and more interesting than a sandwich.
A while back, Peeps introduced me to cold sesame noodles – I had never even considered trying them from the menu of any of the several Chinese restaurants in the area. I mean, it certainly doesn’t sound all that exciting, does it?
Cold spaghetti noodles with sesame seeds and peanut butter? Seriously? Who eats that?
Um, I’ll have the hot and sour soup, thanks. . .
But I gave it a try, and honestly? Who knew cold spaghetti with sesame seeds and peanut butter could actually be edible, let alone delicious!
Now I’ll add here that I don’t know that the actual Chinese takeout version of this dish actually includes actual peanut butter. Maybe some does, maybe not. But it does kind of taste like peanut butter, and that was how it was first described to me, so that’s what we’re going with.
Besides, when Cook’s Illustrated published their recipe for sesame noodles with chicken (on which this one is based), they used peanut butter, so if peanut butter works for the Test Kitchen, it will darned sure work for me!
We start with 12 ounces of dry spaghetti, cooked as usual (boiled in salted water, of course) until it’s tender – about 10 minutes. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, rinse it under cold water until cooled, then drain some more, and toss in a large bowl with 2 Tbsp. sesame oil.
Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, grate a carrot and thinly slice a few scallions (4-5) on the diagonal, and set those aside to be added later. (You could also add some shredded chicken here, or maybe some wee little broccoli florets if you’d like, for a little heartier meal.)
Now we make the sauce. We start with 1/4 cup of sesame seeds, and toast them in a skillet over medium heat – stirring frequently until they’re just golden and fragrant (don’t let them burn!) – about 10 minutes. Reserve a tablespoon or so for later sprinkling if you want, and combine in the food processor bowl:
- remaining sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup of chunky peanut butter (choosy moms choose Jif!)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tbsp. of fresh minced ginger
- 5 Tbsp. soy sauce (low sodium)
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. Tabasco (trust me)
- 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
Blend together, adding warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time as necessary, to achieve the consistency of heavy cream – 4-5 tablespoons all told.
Now we’ve got all the pieces: the cooked, oiled noodles, the vegetables (and meat if so desired), and the sauce. Toss to combine thoroughly, sprinkle any reserved sesame seeds on top, and Peeps notes that chopped, jarred jalapenos are a good addition, as well.
Now you, too, can enjoy cold spaghetti with sesame seeds and peanut butter as a lunch or hot-day dinner!