3 peanut sauces

27 Aug

I’m kind of the domestic one in my household. Certainly I am the cook – the most food preparation I see in my partner’s future is, well, maybe breast feeding if that works out. And I’m trying to get a little organized with this, or at least routinized. So this past week I downloaded the awesome Just Bento’s weekly food planner, and tried Fresh Direct. One of the successes, I think, was the pasta with peanut sauce, made Monday, leftovers the rest of the week. Here’s how something like that goes.

If you have a big pile of pasta, here are some ways to dress it – the end results will vary a bit, and please do not think of these recipes as hard and fast. In each case, cook some pasta (Orangette uses soba noodles, mom uses linguine, I like corkscrews myself), drain it a bit, keep back some of the pasta water in case the whole thing is too heavy/sticky. Then add some of the sauce, stir it about, see if it needs more or less. The first recipe is for 3/4 lb. pasta, the second I mostly use on a pound of pasta, the third is probably a bit much for even 1 lb. pasta.

And taste the sauce. If it is not pea-nutty enough, add another spoon or 2 of peanut butter. If it needs more zing, add some mustard or sriracha. If it doesn’t have a ‘smooth’ enough flavor, you probably need a bit more oil. Need more salt? Add some salt (or soy sauce, which is salty). Feels bland or too unctuous – like oily or slickery – add some citrus to make it pop a bit. If you like garlic, jeez, add more minced garlic. The only people you have to please are you and who you are cooking for. There is no ‘getting the recipe right’ award here.

The pasta by itself is good, but you might want to add some vegetables or protein. Mom adds broiled chicken, which marinates in soy sauce/sesame oil mixture for a bit, then gets broiled for 10 minutes in the broiler. She also adds scallions and cucumber, cold and diced. I like to add sauteed onions and summer squash (which I cook separately, then add in), but wife doesn’t often love that. Orangette (actually her partner) adds bok choy and thinly sliced carrots. Do how you feel!

Peanut-citrus sauce (from Orangette):
½ cup well-stirred natural peanut butter
1 ½ tsp. soy sauce
¼ tsp. pressed garlic (about 1 small clove)
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ tsp. sriracha or a similar hot sauce, or more to taste
½ tsp. chili garlic sauce or sambal oelek, or more to taste
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. water

Peanut mustard sauce (mostly made up ‘recipe’)
2 T chunky peanut butter (I like how the peanut bits add crunch to the pasta)
2 T Dijon Mustard
1 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
1½ T olive oil
1½ T Balsamic vinegar

Mom’s Spicy Peanut Noodle Sauce (Bonnie’s recipe)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T dark brown sugar
3/4 Cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 Cup soy sauce
3/4 Cup sesame oil
6 T hot chile oil
Put all minus the oils in a food processor, process until smooth, add the oils slowly and process until smooth

Easy peasy, lemon breezy. Bon Appetit.

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