I quite like sesame noodles but I seldom make them. However, the other day I had a major craving and while I’ve made this recipe for sesame noodles a couple of times and it’s tasty, we had very few of the ingredients on hand. So it was time for some culinary improvisation inspired by the refrigerator’s contents. And the result? Pretty darn good.
Improv Sesame Noodles
Servings: 2-3 generous ones
- 2 1/2 cups dry fusilli or other favorite pasta
- 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
- 4 bok choy leaves, cut into pieces
- 1/4 orange pepper (or your other favorite color pepper), chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 green onions, chopped
- approximately 1/2 cup hot pasta water (just dip a mug into the water after the pasta has been cooking at least several minutes)
- salt and pepper, to taste
Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and carrot and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the orange pepper and continue to sauté until the veggies are just tender. During the final few minutes of sautéing, add the bok choy. (You could easily substitute most of these veggies for ones in your own fridge.)
Drain pasta and add it to the vegetables.
Combine the ingredients for the sauce. I didn’t actually have a jar of sesame oil, but I did have tahini which is sesame paste and the oil from it separates out and floats on top of the tahini. So I used a little of that oil. I told you I did some improvising. (I probably would have added a little soy sauce too, but we didn’t have any.) Whisk together the sauce ingredients, adding enough of the pasta water to achieve desired consistency — I wanted our sauce somewhat thick so it would cling to the pasta. Pour sauce on top of the pasta and vegetable mixture and stir to combine.
Add salt and pepper and a drizzle of sesame oil, if you’d like.
I usually tally my recipes to estimate cost per serving, but I can’t do that with this dish. The fusilli was a gift, the carrot, bok choy and green onion came as part of our CSA box which is prepaid for an entire box of veggies. And the peanut butter was just the last couple of spoonfuls in an old jar we had in the fridge. It’s safe to say, however, that this meal was very inexpensive.