I have wanted to add some Asian dishes to my regular dinner rotation for awhile now, but I hate to buy multiple spices and oils for a new recipe, only to make it once and discover we don't really like it. In desperate need of some easy summer meals, I finally gave this dish a try and it was a big hit.
The sauce was flavorful without being too heavy and while the list of ingredients for the sauce is long, all you have to do is throw them all in the food processor so it is really easier to make than it might look. The sauce can also be made days ahead, which means all you have to do at dinner time is cook the pasta and chop the veggies.
This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's Szechuan Noodles. I adjusted the spices and vegetables a bit based on my family's preferences and then added some chicken and broccoli (one of the few vegetables my kids both like) to make it a full meal. Pea pods or shredded carrots would probably also work well if your family likes them.
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup good soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1 pound spaghetti
1 red bell pepper, julienned
6 scallions, sliced diagonally (white and green parts)
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped into bit size pieces
Place the garlic and ginger in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the vegetable oil, tahini, peanut butter, soy sauce, sherry, red wine vinegar, honey, sesame oil, ground pepper and cayenne pepper. Puree the sauce.
Add a splash of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook the spaghetti al dente. Add the broccoli for the last 3 minutes of the cooking time for the pasta. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander, place it in a large bowl, and while still warm, toss with 3/4 of the sauce. Add the red pepper, scallion and chicken; toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature. The remaining sauce may be added, as needed, to moisten the pasta.
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