Ina Garten is one of those Food Mavens who can do no wrong.
The Barefoot Contessa has by far the most popular posts on Chewing The Fat. Three of her recipes are in the Top Ten. And they’re never the same three—varying by the season. The allure is simple. That’s because the recipes are. She never takes a home cook out of their comfort zone. And she never complicates things. What’s also wonderful is that she introduces her readers to flavors they may have been reluctant to try before she puts her stamp of approval on them. Today’s recipe is a case in point. Here, Ina introduces her overwhelmingly American audience to a recipe with roots in Asia. But to make it palatable, what’s more American than Peanut Butter?
Did we find an error in “Foolproof” Ina’s Recipe?
I am a stickler sticking to a recipe. I have no reason not too—especially when it’s one of Ina’s. I am a slave to ingredients, to their preparation, the amounts given—everything that the recipe writer writes, I follow right along. So much to my surprise, when I made the ‘sauce’ to add to the recipe, it seemed like a lot. Really a lot. Andrew suggested adding the smooth peanut buttery sauce a little at a time. I balked using the words “It’s an Ina Garten recipe, it must be right.” Well, we ended up with the pasta, peppers, scallions, and peas swimming in the sauce. Not, mind you, that it wasn’t delicious, there was just a whole lot of it. So my advice to you is to take Andrew’s advice. Make the quantity Ina recommends. But add it in parts until you’ve achieved your desired degree of sauciness.
This dish is a perfect introduction to Asian flavors for eaters of any age.
Wherever you live, whether you’ve never served Asian food before, this is a perfect introduction whether you are 6 or 65. The peas and peppers, the spaghetti itself are all familiar. And the sauce coating everything on the plate is creamy but not at all spicy hot. It’s a perfect lunch. It’s a great dinner. You can serve it as a side or as the main event on the dinner plate. And cold, it’s even better. Here is the recipe:
Ina Garten's Crunchy Noodle Salad
A great Asian-accented sauce makes this simple recipe a great introduction to Asian flavors.
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 pound thin spaghetti
- 1 pound sugar snap peas
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds, divided
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded, and thinly sliced
- 4 scallions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Step 1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Step 2 Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, return to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Lift the sugar snap peas from the water with a slotted spoon and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Drain.
- Step 3 For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and peanut butter in a medium bowl.
- Step 4 Combine the spaghetti, sugar snap peas, peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and the parsley and toss together.