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Cook: Szechuan Noodles

Well folks, I made it through the hurricane.  As far as I know, people in my immediate area were lucky; we didn’t suffer any power outages, just some downed trees due to the high winds.  However, one of the trees on Beacon St. fell and it was a big one.  People down the Cape and points South weren’t so fortunate, so if you’re in or around those areas affected, I hope you’re all doing OK!  Hang in there!

My Hurricane Irene prep included buying a case of water, moving my car to a garage for the weekend, and cooking up a large batch of these noodles.  They were just as good cold as they were warm, so I figured they were perfect hurricane food, should my refrigerator stop working.  I got the recipe from Ina Garten’s cookbook The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook which I bought at the Border’s going-out-of-business sale.  This cookbook is full of delicious and accessible recipes which I can’t wait to try, especially after experiencing how easy and flavorful this one is.

I loved the combination of the warm pasta with the crisp, fresh vegetables.  It was fresh and flavorful and quite easy.  And this recipe yields a ton, which is ideal if one is planning on hunkering down for a hurricane.

I saved the leftovers in portions and ate them cold the next day and it was just as delicious.  I like cold pasta but I think this is something everyone would like cold.

If you’re a fan of peanut-flavored sauces, you can’t go wrong here.  It’s extremely flavorful and because it’s Ina’s, it’s essentially fool-proof, even if I did change up a few things.

Here’s the recipe!

Szechuan Noodles (adapted from Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)


  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger, rough skin peeled off, and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar (Ina calls for honey but I didn’t have any.  I’m sure honey would be delicious)
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound thin spaghetti
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 4 scallions, sliced, white and green parts
  1. In a blender, combine garlic, ginger, vegetable oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar (or honey), Sriracha, sesame oil, black pepper and red pepper flakes.  Pulse the blender until the sauce is smooth and the garlic and ginger are well incorporated.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to package directions to al dente.
  3. When pasta is finished, drain and return to the pot.  Pour sauce over the hot pasta, only using 3/4 of the sauce at first, and adding more if needed.  Toss to combine.
  4. Serve in a bowl with the fresh julienned peppers and sliced scallions on top.
Enjoy!  And stay safe out there, this August weather is crazy!

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