Saturday, June 21, 2008

Noodle Love VII: Whole Wheat Spaghetti

It’s not often that I make a pasta dish that contains neither cream nor cheese, but I’m trying to get better. I recently found an Ellie Krieger recipe for Aromatic Noodles with Lime-Peanut Sauce, and, in the interest of trying to eat better, I decided to give it a try.

This recipe had two strikes against it from the start: 1) I’m not the hugest peanut fan and 2) I have a personal bias against anything “whole wheat,” and the recipe called for whole wheat spaghetti. I didn’t always have this bias, but we recently tried the new Papa John’s whole wheat pizza crust, and I was not a fan. Adam liked it though, so maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, the point is that I wasn’t sure how this recipe would turn out. But you know what? It was delicious! I was actually surprised how much I liked it. I really liked the flavor of both the noodles and the sauce. And it’s so healthy! Whole wheat pasta, lots of veggies, and a tasty peanut-butter-based sauce that I’m sure is better for me than the cream-based sauces I usually make.

Did I mention that Adam has been nagging me to lay off the heavy cream? Yeah, he has. It’s going to be rough, but this pasta dish is a good start.

I’m submitting this dish to next week’s Presto Pasta Nights, which will be hosted by Hillary of Chew on That. Be sure to stop by for the roundup on June 27, and visit Ruth of Once Upon a Feast for past roundups.

Aromatic Noodles with Lime-Peanut Sauce
From Ellie Krieger

3/4 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
2 cups (about 9 ounces) broccoli florets
2 cups (about 6 ounces) snow peas, trimmed
2 cups (about 6 ounces) sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 scallion, cut into pieces
3/4 inch fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup shelled unsalted peanuts

Cook the pasta in a large pot of water according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. While the pasta is cooking, put the broccoli in a steamer basket over a large pot of boiling water and steam it for 3 minutes. Add the snow peas and sugar snap peas and steam for 2 minutes more.

Toast the peanuts in a dry pan over a medium heat until they become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set them aside to cool. Make the sauce by pureeing the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, scallion, ginger, sugar, and red pepper flakes in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Right before serving, toss the pasta with 3/4 cup of the peanut sauce. Divide into 6 serving bowls and top each serving with the vegetables. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the vegetables. Coarsely chop the peanuts, sprinkle them on top, and serve.


Lina said...

I am a fan of whole wheat pasta and this looks like a great recipe!

Kevin said...

That sounds really tasty! I like using peanut butter in savoury sauces. I also like to try to use whole wheat pasta whenever I can.

noble pig said...

I have made this before and loved it. It's the perfect combination of flavors.

Cuisine Heart said...

Mmm, this sounds excellent. I've found that whole wheat pastas have definitely improved over time (and are generally much more filling than regular pasta). I'll have to give this a try, sounds like it has alot of great flavors (and could be good cold as well as hot!)

Brilynn said...

I'm actually a big fan of whole wheat spaghetti and love using peanut butter in sauces, this sounds great!

Lore said...

Love the sound of that sauce. Lovely altogether!

Kristen said...

That does look delicious!

michelle @ TNS said...

just...yum. i LOVE peanut butter and really like whole wheat pasta. i'm always on the lookout for new peanut butter sauces.

Grace said...

the green in your dish is so vibrant--how beautiful and, obviously, how tasty! peanut butter is a miracle ingredient, whether for an entree or dessert. [it seems we've just had a visit by captain obvious... :)]

Parker said...

I am also skeptical about peanut butter in dishes. But anytime I have had it with ginger it turns out great. This dish looks flavorful.

aria said...

i;m the same way about whole wheat pasta. i love peanut sauce with lime though so i bet this is delish!

that picture of the pea pod is adorable :)

Deborah said...

I actually made a dish a few nights ago with whole wheat spaghetti, and I thought my husband was going to hate them, but he actually loved them! This sounds like a great, healthy dish!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

This is a good recipe to know--I'm also highly suspicious of anything whole wheat-centric. Something about it just makes so many recipes...worse (to me at least). This looks really good, and coming from a fellow whole wheat non-fan, well, I'll have to revisit whole wheat pasta!

Daziano said...

I have the same concerns about whole wheat... whole wheat pasta (but especially whole wheat pizza) doesn't sound quite right to me. However this recipe looks pretty good!!!

Hillary said...

All the ingredients sounded fabulous to me, and I just love the pictures. I'm so excited to post the roundup and include this delicious post!

Jeff said...

You have inspired me to add whole wheat pasta to the shopping list. Never been a big fan but the flavors sound like they would balance really well versus a standard tomato sauce.

Elle said...

This looks fabulous, and I can't wait to try it! The pasta, though--3/4 cup? Pound?

Vicarious Foodie said...

Elle: Thanks for bringing that to my attention! It's 3/4 of a pound, and I fixed it above.

FYI for anyone wondering, I used Ronzoni Healthy Harvest, and it comes in a 3/4-pound box.

Ruth Daniels said...

It does sound lovely. I used to turn my nose up at whole wheat pasta and now I find myself actually looking for multigrain and other interested pastas.

Thanks for sharing this with Presto Pasta Night.

Patsyk said...

I love that cookbook, and this is one of my favorite recipes from it. The flavor of the sauce is simply addictive!

emily said...

Hi,I found your site through Elise of Simply Recipes. I would LOVE to try this recipe. It's hard for me to find natural peanut butter, even in our local "health food" stores. Will the recipe work with the plain ol' storebought kind?

Vicarious Foodie said...

Hi, Emily! I actually did use natural peanut butter, but I don't see any reason why this wouldn't work with regular store-bought. Store-bought peanut butter seems a bit sweeter to me than natural, so you might want to add the sugar a little bit at a time and taste it as you go, but I don't see any real problem there. Give it a try!

emily said...

I tried the recipe last night using regular commercial peanut butter. It was AMAZING. I left out the sugar entirely, and it was perfect.

I've tried several peanut sauce recipes, but this one blew them away. My husband and I loved how the lime came through.

Thanks for the idea and suggestions!