Monday, January 24, 2011

Red Curry Peanut Noodles

I often get very specific food cravings, and I've had a cold peanut noodle bowl on my mind for a while, so I went searching for a recipe, thinking it might make a nice Packer snack to go with the NFC Championship game. It took a lot of self control to wait until 2:00pm to eat lunch for me, but along with a couple of mini spring rolls, this made a delicious accompaniment to the Packers defeat of the Bears. While these noodles are good, they aren't a standout dish in my mind, the lack of heat being one of the key reasons. But it is a good solid dish that is easy and quick to make, healthy, and makes great leftovers for lunch the following day. If I make this again, I'll add a minced jalapeno or Thai chile for heat and more vegetables because I prefer a higher vegetable to noodle ratio in my noodle dishes (although most restaurants and recipes don't agree). Peppers or broccoli would be excellent in this noodle bowl, as would tofu or grilled chicken. This is another one of these recipes I really love because it is so customizable and adaptable, so you can find a combination to please almost anyone.

Red Curry Peanut Noodles
from Food and Wine
serves 4

3/4 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1/3 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed cilantro leaves
Kosher salt
1 cup mung bean sprouts (2 1/2 ounces)
2 scallions, white and green parts quartered and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1/3 cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Lime wedges, for serving

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until it is al dente. Drain the spaghetti and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain very well.

2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the peanut butter with the lime juice, red curry paste, stock and 1/4 cup of the cilantro leaves and puree. Season the sauce with salt.

3. In a large bowl, toss the spaghetti with the peanut sauce, bean sprouts, scallions and carrot until well coated. Season with salt. Transfer to bowls and sprinkle with the remaining cilantro leaves and the peanuts. Serve with lime wedges.

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