Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sesame Noodles

Oh, how I love noodles!  This recipe for sesame noodles is another great one from one of my favorite blogs and cookbooks, Budget Bytes.  I bulked up the original recipe with pork and veggies to make it more of a complete dinner.  Whether you go for this version or just enjoy the sauce by itself on noodles, it's seriously addictive: bold sesame flavor from sesame oil and tahini, plus Aleppo chili flakes, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic.  Yum!  I thought this was best right out of the pan, so I'd make just as much as  you plan on eating rather than planning on leftovers.

Sesame Noodles (adapted from Budget Bytes)
Serves 4

8 ounces angel hair pasta
Vegetable oil
2 pork chops (optional, or sub in chicken or tofu)
3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced, on the diagonal
1/2 large bell pepper, trimmed and thinly sliced
1-1/2 T sesame oil, divided
1 T minced fresh ginger
1-1/2 tsp minced fresh lemongrass
3 T unsalted butter
3 cloves minced garlic
3 T soy sauce
3 T unseasoned rice vinegar
3 T brown sugar
Generous pinch Aleppo chile flakes (more if you like things spicy)
2 T tahini
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt.  When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil. When the oil is hot, add the chops.  Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Remove to a cutting board. Cut off any large pieces of fat, and thinly slice the meat into bite-sized chunks. If the pork isn't cooked all the way through, return to the skillet and sauté for a few minutes until it is cooked to your liking.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the veggies. Heat a second skillet over medium heat and add 1 T of the sesame oil.  When it is hot, add the ginger and lemongrass.  Sauté for a couple of minutes, until fragrant and beginning to brown. Add the carrots and bell pepper, and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until just tender.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.
4. In the same skillet, add the butter and melt. Add the garlic, and statute for a minute or so, until just starting to brown. Scrape into a small bowl.  Add the remaining 1/2 T sesame oil, along with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and chile flakes.  Whisk to combine.
5. Return the drained pasta to the pot it was cooked in, and pour the sauce on top. Add the tahini, and toss to combine. When the tahini has melted into the sauce, add the reserved vegetables and pork, and toss to combine. Depending on your timing, you may want to gently regent the dish over medium-low heat.
6. Serve sprinkled with green onions.

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