Monday, April 1, 2013

Noodles with Mushroom Sauce

Cleaning out the fridge: added sauteed shrimp, roasted asparagus, kimchi, and crispy fried serrano ham
This is a very adaptable recipe. You can eat it as is, noodles with a rich Asian mushroom sauce. Or you can start adding stuff: a fried egg, some kimchi, sauteed shrimp, cubed fried tofu, bamboo shoots, cooked asparagus. Whatever you have in your fridge that you think goes nicely with Asian noodles and mushrooms. That's a pretty wide open category!

The shiitakes are more expensive than button mushrooms, but they have such a meaty texture and flavor that they are a fantastic meat substitute. Look for bargains at your local Asian supermarket, if there are any in your town. Shiitakes are often on sale for the same price as button mushrooms and there are great deals on all sorts of Asian produce. It's always an adventure, going to the big Asian market near me. Not only did I discover the cheap shiitakes last time I was there, I also found their sensational store-made kimchi.

Noodles with Mushroom Sauce
(serves 4; costs $9.70)

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
12 cloves garlic, sliced thin
½ pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, rinsed, stemmed, and sliced thinly
½ pound white button mushrooms, rinsed, and sliced thinly
3 ½ Tablespoons sake or Chinese rice wine
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
12 oz. noodles such as Chinese egg noodles, soba noodles, or whole wheat spaghetti, cooked al dente
3 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce
salt to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet until hot. Add garlic and stir-fry until the garlic is fragrant, about 15 seconds.

Add the shiitakes and button mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-high and add the sake. Cover the pan and cook for another 3-4 minutes until mushrooms are tender. Uncover, add the scallions and any other additions you want and cook for another minute until most of the liquid has cooked off.

Add the noodles and soy sauce and toss to coat. Season with a pinch of salt if needed. The soy sauce is salty but the pasta can soak up quite a bit of salt. Serve. Good with a fried egg on top or with a garnish of kimchi.

Notes: You can cook the mushrooms and toss with the soy sauce but not the noodles if you won't be serving all the noodles at once. Mix ¼ of the cooked noodles with ¼ the mushrooms for each serving. You can mix them all together and eat them over a few meals, but the texture of the noodles is better if you mix them with the mushrooms just before you eat them.

Adapted from Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds.

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