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Sesame Noodles with Peanut Sauce

This simple, slightly spicy noodle dish is infinitely adaptable to whatever combination of vegetables you have on hand. Tahini, a paste made from toasted sesame seeds, is available in specialty foods stores and Middle Eastern markets. Use natural peanut butter without added sweeteners. If the oil has separated from the peanut butter, stir it in before measuring.

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, peeled 
  • Salt, to taste 
  • 1/4 lb. snow peas, trimmed 
  • 1/2 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti, broken in half 
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil 
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. creamy peanut butter  
  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce 
  • 3 1/2 Tbs. fresh lime juice 
  • 2 tsp. tahini  
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Asian red chili paste 
  • 1 lb. cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 1/4 cup toasted peanuts, chopped 

Directions:

Cut the carrots diagonally into ovals 1/8 inch thick, then cut each oval lengthwise into matchsticks.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the snow peas and cook until just crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Using a strainer, transfer the snow peas to a bowl. Add the carrot matchsticks to the pot and cook until just crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using the strainer, transfer to the bowl with the snow peas.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 8 to 9 minutes or according to the package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the sesame oil.

In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, tahini, chili paste and reserved pasta cooking water. Add to the pasta along with the shrimp, vegetables and cilantro and stir well. Garnish with the peanuts and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).