6 quick ways with Noodles
After the madness of the holidays, we want nothing more than to wind down and do as little as possible. But we still have to eat, believe it or not, even though we’ve been stuffing our faces for a month or so. We’re reminded, however, of how simple eating can be when we’re not on stage creating the expected show of holiday culinary excess... ahhhhhhhh... it’s only once a year. We turn to what is quick, easy, clean and delicious. Noodles. Can’t beat noodles for simplicity, ease of prep and lots of umami – a Japanese word that loosely translates to “deliciousness” or “savoury.” Let’s eat noodles.
1. Angel Hair Conditioner Pasta
From Pierre Lamielle’s clever book, Kitchen Scraps. Assemble your ingredients first: 1/2 lb. dried vermicelli noodles, 1 c. Greek yogurt,
1 garlic clove, grated, 1 T. olive oil, 1/2 c. grated asiago cheeese, 1 T. lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook the vermicelli in lots of boiling, salted water until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain and reserve some of the cooking water. Put the vermicelli back in the pot and the pot on the same stove element, turned off. Add the yogurt, garlic and olive oil and toss until the “hair” is evenly coated and luxurious. Add a bit of cooking water if you think the hair needs to be looser. Add the asiago and lemon juice, toss gently until incorporated, salt if needed. Get a big tong full of hair into a big bowl and top with loads of black pepper. Serves 2.
2. Simple Spelt Linguine
Spelt noodles seem to have more umami than the usual dried pasta.
And they have a wonderful toothsomeness too. Coarsely chop a whack of pancetta and gently fry it in a little olive oil until lightly browned. Throw in some chopped onion too, if you like. When the pancetta is ready and the onions are translucent, add a can or two of Scarpone’s fire roasted tomatoes, chunky and with a delish charred flavour, a couple of glugs of maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and cook on simmer, semi-covered, for an hour or so. When ready to eat, cook the linguine. Serve the sauce over the linguine in wide bowls and top with grated cheese and lots of torn fresh basil.
3. Pappardelle with Roasted Veg
Toss cauliflower and broccoli florets, sliced red/yellow/orange bell peppers, peeled shallots, sliced fennel bulb and carrot and parsnip rounds with olive oil. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet, salt and pepper generously, and roast in a preheated 375°F oven, turning from time to time, until tender and nicely browned around all the edges. This will take about 45 minutes. While the veg are roasting, cook pappardelle noodles in lots of boiling, salted water. When the noodles are done, drain thoroughly, put them back in the pot, stir in some olive oil and butter to make the noodles slick and keep them warm until the veg are done. Serve in wide bowls topped with the roasted veg and a grating of cheese.
4. Rich Noodles
Inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe. Cook 1 lb. spaghetti or linguine in a pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, sauté 2 garlic cloves, sliced, in olive oil and butter until golden. Add a grating of nutmeg and 1 lb. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped. Cook until the spinach is wilted, then season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 c. whipping cream, 3/4 c. mascarpone and a spoonful or two of the noodle cooking water. Bring to a simmer. Drain the noodles thoroughly and add them to the sauce along with 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese. Toss together and loosen to a nice, silky consistency with a little of the cooking water. Correct the seasonings and serve in wide bowls. Serves 4.
5. Fat Rice Noodles with Garlicky Greens
A Dee Hobsbawn-Smith recipe. Heat 1 T. oil in a large sauté pan, add
1 sliced onion, 8 minced garlic cloves, 2 T. minced ginger and 2 T. mild curry paste. Cook until the onion is tender and beginning to colour. Add 10 mushrooms, quartered, and 1 bunch baby bok choy, sliced thin. Cook, stirring, 1 minute, then add 1 c. chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then add 3 T. cornstarch dissolved in cold water and boil briefly until the sauce thickens and becomes clear. Add 1 lb. fresh fat, round, rice noodles, available in Asian markets, and simmer until they are hot and tender, adding more stock if needed to keep the dish a bit saucy. Add soy sauce, hot chile flakes and lemon juice to taste. Serve in wide bowls garnished with minced cilantro. Serves 6.
6. Thai-Style Coconut Noodles with Salmon
Soak 8 oz. of thin rice stick noodles (available in Asian groceries) in cold water for 15 minutes. Strain, separate with your fingers, and reserve. Pat 2 salmon filets with paper towels to absorb moisture, then rub them with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle them with Char Crust roasted garlic peppercorn dry rub. Set aside. Heat 1 c. coconut milk in a saucepan with a good shake of fish sauce and a good shake of Sriracha chile sauce. Add the reserved noodles, stirring well to coat them with the coconut milk. Cover and keep warm. Meanwhile, fry the salmon filets in a little oil, but don’t overcook them. Before serving, toss the noodles with a handful of bean sprouts and some chopped green onion, pile into two wide bowls and top with the salmon. Serves 2.