Sunday, April 26, 2009

Szechuan noodles

One thing you’ll almost always find in my fridge is a jar of tahini. This sesame seed paste is a key ingredient in hummus, which I make on a regular basis. I just bought a new jar and thought it would be fun to use it for something other than hummus. I decided on a recipe for szechuan noodles from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook.

This recipe is essentially noodles and vegetables in a peanut and sesame sauce. I doubled the amount of peppers, because in my mind the more vegetables, the better. I also used whole wheat pasta to up the nutritional value. The sauce has quite a few ingredients, but can be made days in advance. I just could not understand why this sauce contains so much vegetable oil – isn’t peanut butter, tahini, sesame oil and chili oil enough fat? My only guess is that the vegetable oil serves to thin the sauce out. I decided to omit the vegetable oil and just thin the sauce with some pasta water, which worked well.

Since I made the sauce and cut up the vegetables the night before, I had dinner on the table in about 15 minutes – you can’t beat that! While I waited for the noodles to boil, I cooked some snow peas to serve on the side. I garnished the noodles with green onions, and some black and white sesame seeds for added flavor and texture.

barefoot contessa noodles, ina garten noodles, szechuan noodles

74 comments:

Cathy said...

Love tahini - I make hummus all the time to snack on. By far one of the best items to keep on hand. And love the look of these noodles...Barefoot Contessa is one one of my favourites.

Selba said...

Wow.. looks so beautiful!

I love szechuan dishes because of the hot and spicy flavors :)

noble pig said...

I love hoe the black sesame seeds really dress up this dish...it's beautiful!

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

beautiful. Love all the color.

girlichef said...

What a beautiful dish this is!! It sounds amazing, too....I love tahini, but don't think I've ever tried using it for anything outside of dipping or hummus...YUM!

Irene said...

Oh, I love this! Lovely colors!

Lynda said...

This is such a beautiful dish and I wish I could take a fork to it right now!Looks so yummy with all the veggies and I love that pasta!

melissa said...

That's a gorgeous photo. The addition of the seeds and onions really stand out. And good idea thinning it out with pasta water and keeping it as healthy as you would have liked. I imagine it didn't need it.

Barbara Bakes said...

The sesame seeds really make this dish pop - simply gorgeous! I'll have to give it a try!

Bharti said...

I always have tahina on hand as well to make hummus. I have never seen it used on noodles! Sounds interesting Sara.

Christina Kim said...

Interesting about the vege oil. But I definitely appreciate your healthier substitutions! Looks great, very colorful, and definitely a good call with the black sesame seeds.

LaDue & Crew said...

Love this! Colors, textures... everything sounds so good!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What colorful and delicious looking noodles!

Cheers,

Rosa

Monica H said...

You can barely cook a pizza in 15 minutes. You really can't beat that!

Sophie said...

Sara, this noodle dish looks super yummie & so colourfull!! Yum indeed!

Grace said...

wait, tahini has applications other than hummus? i had no idea. :)
that's a particularly gorgeous picture, sara, and a great dish.

Cakelaw said...

This noodle dish loks fabulous - and I love peanut flavours with pasta (hence why I love Pad thai!). Great job Sara.

Miette said...

Wow... Those look colorful and delicious! Black sesame is vey beautiful!

Cheers,

Miette.

Amanda said...

Yum! Your noodles sound delicious.

I read recently another suggested use for tahini: to skinny up mashed potatoes. Sounded interesting...

Kitchen Flavours said...

What a flavourful, Yum and colorful noodles....

5 Star Foodie said...

Beautiful noodles! I love the black and white sesame seeds sprinkled on top!

Happy cook said...

I love noodles and this one looks super dleicous.

Cassie said...

That looks AMAZING. I have this one bookmarked in my cookbook to try, and I'll definitely use your tip about the pasta water vs. vegetable oil. Yum!

stephchows said...

I'm ALWAYS looking for new uses for tahini, love the stuff, thanks for the recipe!

Joan Nova said...

Love the flavors, love the colors, and I'm sure I'd love the taste!

Dawn said...

ha ha! and one of the many things you'll always find in my fridge is a stash or two of peanut noodles.
That first photo is simply stunning!

lisaiscooking said...

It looks delicious! I've been wanting to try this Ina recipe for awhile, and the added peppers and decreased oil sound like great ideas.

Pearl said...

oh that dish with the sesame at the front is pretty!

Katherine Aucoin said...

This looks beautiful Sara. The black sesame really adds to the elegant look of your noodles.

Leslie said...

Oh Sara.. This looks so Delicious!!! Ya Got me! If you read my blog you will see that I LOVE spicy food. I do NOT cook with a lot of oil though!
YUM
Leslie
LeslieVeg@msn.com
http://leslielovesveggies.blogspot.com/

gaga said...

Mmm, this looks great. I usually use chicken stock in place of oil to thin out sauces. Pasta water is a good idea too, I might try that next time, thanks!

teresa said...

This looks so good! I'm a huge Ina fan too. I love all the colors!

Soma said...

Oh My Goodness! This is some treat & very much my kinda treat.. I love Tahini. You have done a wonderful combination of cuisines here!

Diana said...

I love tahini, but never thought to add it to my peanut butter noodles. I'll have to try it the next time I whip up a batch!

alexandra said...

Good call on using water in place of the peanut oil ... I think the BFC — as much as I adore her — can go overboard a bit in the fat department. These noodles look heavenly!

Bridgett said...

What a lovely photo. The seeds make it all the more exotic and I can just imagine the flavors. Beautiful dish!

Elra said...

Amazingly good looking noodle Sara. Bookmarking this.
Cheers,
elra

Recipe man said...

yummy ! this looks great. Sazuan is best with that hot spicy aromatic taste

Colleen said...

This looks delicious - and beautiful picture!

Natashya said...

This looks fantastic Sara, I have this book too. Don't be surprised if you see me making it soon!

Together We Save said...

Looks yummy. I would love this dish.

The Blonde Duck said...

Ben would LOVE this.

Olga said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I see your new camera is working out perfectly :)

Maris said...

This sounds great! I have tahini too but on the other hand, I never know what to do with it!

Melissa @ For the Love of Health said...

That looks beyond tasty!
Not to mention beautiful!

Maria said...

Glad you added more veggies, looks great!

Dragon said...

I love tahini! Your noodles are so gorgeous.

Claudia said...

This meal is a staple in my home. I do it with tons of sprouts and cucumbers. And i have to make it - no one in MN does peanut-sesame noodles!Looks grand.Might have to whip up some now.

Sarah said...

Mmmmm, hummus is one of my favorite things to eat!!! I have looked at this recipe before but haven't made it, maybe now is the time!

Heather said...

those look so delicious!!! mmmmmmm.

Sean said...

I love the colors of this dish Sara! The sesame and goma seeds look great as well!

Robin Sue said...

I am with you on using less oil, very smart to use the pasta water. Did you eat this hot or cold or both?! The photo is so vivid- love the colors!

Juliana said...

Such an interesting combination of flavors...looks very yummie!

Ingrid said...

That's an interesting sounding and lovely looking dish.
~ingrid

LK- Healthy Delicious said...

this looks so flavorful and I love the visual impact of those sesame seeds! nice job!

ttfn300 said...

love your sub's, and it looks amazing!!

Angie's Recipes said...

Szechuan cuisine is one of my fav. Hot, spiced and varied.

Kevin said...

I really like those spicy peanut sauces!

Jamie said...

I have a very old jar of tahini sitting in my fridge. I used to make hummous all the time, but here in Nantes I find excellent hummous at the store, so tahini is sitting unused and unloved. This dish looks amazing and seems the perfect use for that tahini. Your dish looks absolutely beautiful, too.

Debbie said...

What a delicious looking dish!

Sara said...

Robin Sue - we ate it hot, but I think it would be just as good cold.

Culinary Wannabe said...

I love the way the black and white sesame seeds look. And I'm with you on the more veggies the better - that way you can eat more without the guilt. :)

Sara said...

Dinner on the table in 15 min is pretty impressive!

burpandslurp said...

another great Barefoot Contessa recipe! I LOVE this dish for its vibrant color, and what a nice touch with the black sesame seeds!

Alex said...

Oh wow - I'd never have thought about using tahini another way! Also, loving the mix of pale and black sesame seeds... so pretty!

Priscilla said...

Tahini is a must for hummus....this dish looks excellent!

Pavithra said...

OMG its looking so colour full and so delish..Great pict

unconfidential cook said...

This is my favorite dish...and you cannot get good ones where I live. Thanks for the recipe--we'll make it at home.

Annie said...

That looks delicious...It's funny, I was just pondering whether or not I should buy a jar of tahini.
I saw a recipe for hummus and thought, Oh I don't have tahini and I don't know what else I would use it for...
So thanks for offering this awesome recipe for another use for the tahini.
I will definitely be buying it now!!!

finsmom said...

What a stunningly colorful dish! Love the black seasame seeds!

Passionate Eater said...

Looks so great Sara! I love your "doubling" of the veggies and addition of whole wheat pasta.

Passionate Eater said...

Also, that is a smart idea to leave the oil out and add water instead!

Carolyn Jung said...

Oh man, I definitely need to start stocking the fridge with tahini. I've got like every other condiment imaginable in there, so it's high time I add this one.

Rumela said...

I just love the taste of Szechuan. Anything in Szechuan starting from fried rice to noodles I just love it. Sometimes my friends get irritated because of my nature. I am planning to organize a kitty in this weekend and I am gonna make this dish for all my friends. Thanks!! For such a lovely dish.