Sesame Noodles with Cucumber

I always forget about tahini. I’m not sure why… when I have it, I’m always fond of the mild but nutty flavor. Sure, it’s a touch paste-like. But paired with the right herbs or some chili flakes, it’s a fantastic lower note. Plus, I’m a big fan of sesame seeds, sesame oil and sesame salt. But, as I go about my day, concocting recipes, cooking with tahini never enters my mind.

In my plating & presentations class last week, I made the Sesame Noodle with Cucumber Salad, and was reminded once again of the sesame nut butter. This recipe is a simple stir and and a swirl, and is a fantastic side with other Asian inspired dishes. I like my food spicy, so you may wish to go a bit more gently on the chili flakes.

Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
8 oz linguine (or pasta of your choice)
3 T tahini
1 t chili flakes
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley
2 T water
1 T soy sauce
1 T honey
2 lemons
1/2 cucumber
2 cloves of garlic
2 green onions
salt and pepper to taste
2 T salted crushed peanuts (for garnish)

Cook the pasta al dente, according to the manufacturers directions, and strain and blanch well to cool. Make sure that all the pasta has cooled before you set aside, or it will tend to stick together.

In a large bowl combine the tahini, chili, water, soy, honey, and juice from the lemons. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chop the parsley, crush the garlic, and slice the green onions and cucumber on a bias. Add to the tahini mixture, and stir to coat. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Add the pasta and gently fold to coat, being careful not to overstir.

Top with the chopped peanuts if desired.

This pasta is beautiful served up in a large bowl, or plated individually. To get the swirl of pasta look, use tongs to pick up a helping of pasta, and hold it above the plate. Start to lower the pasta, and slowly turn the plate with your other hand, gently lowering the pasta as you turn. Tuck in any protruding noodles.

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