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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Szechuan Noodles

I recently mentioned how I have rediscovered some of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks.  While I was baking the pecan bars, I flipped past this page in the book and instantly wondered how I had never really noticed this recipe before.  I sounded phenomenal, and relatively simple at that.  I quickly found an occasion to try it out when we invited my mother-in-law over for lunch one afternoon.  I thought it would make for a nice light lunch, and boy, did it ever!  I thought this would be good but it far surpassed my expectations.  The sauce was full of peanut-y flavor and pleasantly spicy.  These noodles were incredibly addictive, and we polished off the whole pound of pasta over a few short days.  

The dressing is incredibly quick to whip up in the food processor, and can be made several days in advance.  Though the ingredient list may look long, I already had almost everything in my pantry.  I prepped the dressing and chopped all the veggies in the morning so that when we were ready to eat, all I had to do was cook the pasta, toss and serve.  I think snow peas would also be an excellent addition to this dish, and some grilled chicken pieces could make this a complete meal.  The only thing to note is that the dressing recipe makes quite a lot.  Ina recommends adding 3/4 of it and then adding more as needed.  I added just under half of it, and it seemed like plenty.  I did pass a small dish of it at the table so we could adjust according to our own tastes.  Even though it makes a lot of dressing, I will probably continue to make the whole batch so we can use the leftover later on.  And, for anyone who buys tahini to make hummus and is interested in finding another use for it, here you go!

Szechuan Noodles
For the dressing:
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp. hot chili oil
1 tbsp. dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

For the salad:
1 lb. thin spaghetti
2 bell peppers (red, orange or yellow), julienned
4 scallions, sliced diagonally

Place the garlic and ginger in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Process until finely minced.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add in the remaining dressing ingredients and puree until smooth.  Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator while preparing the pasta.

Cook the spaghetti until al dente according to the package directions.  Drain the pasta in a colander, transfer to a serving bowl, and while still warm toss with about half of the dressing.  Add the bell peppers and scallions; toss.  Add remaining dressing to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.  

Source: adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

  • Gorgeous photo!

  • Fabulous new look for the blog! And another yummy looking recipe

  • Hi Annie,

    I posted a fantastic Jamaican Jerk Pork recipe yesterday on my blog if you are interested! We adored it at my house!

    Also, I’m making your cherry limeade cupcakes for a party we’re hosting this weekend. I’ve had them bookmarked for SO long, and I’m so excited to try them! I’ll let you know what everyone thinks!


  • Love Asian Noodles! Looks great!

  • Looks like a great recipe and perfect for summer!

  • LW

    I love the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and Barefoot Contessa Back-to-Basics. They are staples in my kitchen – in fact, the only two cookbooks I actually keep in the kitchen. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this recipe. I’ve not tried it before and am anxious to do so! I am new to your blog and really enjoy it.

  • How cute! I *love* the new layout!! I was reading your “About” section and loved the part about you not taking down your beginner photos – I have some doozies on my blog from when I first started! I remember thinking, “wow, these are great photos!”, when really….they were pretty bad! LOL! But I agree with you – I think it’s important to leave them up and see how far we’ve come (even though mine are still pretty bad!). Love the blog – keep up the great work! :-) Great looking noodles, too!

  • I’ve seen her make this on TV. It always looks so fresh and inviting. Love how colorful it is!

  • OOoooh! That looks delicious! The dressing looks perfect =) I bet they were addictive noodles…

  • Kelsea

    I am officially addicted to your blog. This was amazing.

  • so good lookin!

  • These noodles do look rather addicting! I love meals that come together quickly in a food processor. The tahini is so interesting in the dressing.

  • Love your new look! Great meal idea too!

  • Annie

    Thanks, Amy! I am glad you appreciate me keeping up the old ones. I have changed a very few of them that were truly atrocious, but for the most part, I’m leaving them up. So happy you like my blog!
    :) Annie

  • bergamot

    Looks really delicious. I like the idea of adding peanut butter ;-)

  • oooo! i just flipped passed this recipe yesterday while making gazpacho and made a note that i needed to make it soon. then it was on BC last night. and now you’ve posted it! looks like the perfect trifecta and i’ve got it on the menu for next week. great job with this one Annie!

  • Yum! My daughter would love this – I’ll have to give it a try – thanks!

  • Pingback: Szechuan Noodles « PEAs and Cues()

  • Lisa Joy

    I made this for a luncheon for Jane Hoeppner today, and it was VERY well-received. I did add the juice of half a lime to the sauce, and it was perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Gjesso

    This looks and sounds fantastic! I want to make it at night to share with coworkers the next day at lunch. Would that work? Can I mix everything up the night before, or should I individually pack things and put together before eating, or should I make something different? Thanks for sharing!

  • Annie

    Either way is fine, your call!