As an obsessive peanut butter lover, I’m naturally a diehard fan of peanut sauce too. If you haven’t had it, well, you’re missing out. (Unless you have a peanut allergy, in which case, I’d pass on this one).
Peanut butter creates a naturally creamy base that lathers up pasta and gives it a rich massage of flavor. Toasted sesame oil, the PB’s sidekick in this dish, contributes that classic roasted infusion of Asian flavor and aroma to the sauce. Then some ginger and chili garlic sauce come in to spice things up a bit. If spicy isn’t your forte, simply use less of the chili garlic sauce.
I pair the peanutty sauce with soba noodles, which while aren’t essential, definitely enhance the dish. Soba noodles contain a combination of buckwheat and wheat flour, which give them a nutty taste and a unique, elastic texture. They are the perfect noodle to stand up to the intensiveness of the sauce (vs. white pasta) without taking away from any of the flavor (vs. whole wheat pasta).
Cabbage and red peppers lighten up the dish a bit, packing it with an element of nutritious freshness. While this dish is intended to be served warm, it’s equally as tasty at room temp., or slightly chilled.
- -1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
- -1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- -1/2 small savoy cabbage, about 4 cups, sliced into strips
- -2 cloves garlic
- -1/2 Tbsp. ginger
- -1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- -1 scant Tbsp. chili garlic sauce, or to taste
- -1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
- -3 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- -3 scallions, diced
- -1/4 cup cilantro
- -8 oz. soba noodles
- -1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid
- Boil large pot of water, and cook noodles until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Pulse garlic and ginger in food processor. Add chili sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and peanut butter, and process until smooth. Add reserved pasta water, starting with 1/4 cup. Continue adding if thinner consistency is desired.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add peppers and cabbage, and cook until cabbage is nearly tender. Remove from heat. Add noodles, and toss with sauce.
- Stir in scallions and cilantro. Serve.