Though it appears in Jenny Rosenstrach's epic new cookbook, Dinner: A Love Story, which is based off her blog of the same name, this recipe for peanut butter noodles actually came from her friend, Melissa Roberts.
So what's it doing in the book? Well, we all know that some of the best inspiration can come from friends, and when published on her blog, this became one of the five most popular recipes. That intrigued me enough to give it a shot.
Why I Picked This Recipe: This recipe has easy written all over it. While the noodles cook in a pot of boiling water, the sauce is mixed together in less than a minute in the food processor. Combine the two, along with some sliced cucumbers, and you're done.
What Worked: It really is as easy as it says. Plus, you could double the amount of sauce and keep some on hand if you're feeling extra lazy. I particularly liked the way the fresh ginger stood up to the creamy sauce.
What Didn't: This is called peanut butter noodles for a reason. Those with visions of sesame noodles in their minds will probably dislike the heavy peanut butter presence. Still, I wish there was more acid here. It's a little too creamy for me.
Suggested Tweaks: Garnishes are totally up to you, and I'd add as many as you have. Sugar snap peas would add a sweet crunch. Julienned cabbage would also work. And for my money, I kind of think hot sauce is essential. As for what kind to add, sriracha is a good choice, but I think sambal is probably the best bet.
Adapted from Jenny Rosenstrach's Dinner: A Love Story
- 1 pound udon noodles (or spaghetti)
- 1 small garlic clove, smashed
- 1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced (sugar snap peas or cabbage would also work)
- 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
- hot sauce (sambal is a good choice)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to the directions on the packaging. When done, drain in a colander.
With the motor running on a food processor or blender, add the garlic and ginger. When they are finely chopped, add the peanut butter, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, and pepper flakes. Process until smooth.
In a large bowl, toss the noodles with the sauce. Divide the noodles between four large bowls, and garnish with the sliced cucumber and chopped peanuts. Serve with hot sauce of choice.