Sesame + peanut butter

Growing up, this dish was known at home as "Chinese Chicken Salad" (sometimes it was a lot more salady than this). And though it was not a frequent guest at our dinner table, it was a loved one, possibly made even more special due to its sporadic visits. Honestly, though, there is nothing not to love, and I don't doubt that even if I were forced to eat these chewy, creamy, oh-so-satisfying noodles every day of my life that I would not love them any less.

The name - Chinese Chicken Salad - ceased to be an accurate description for this heap of noodles and peanut sauce when I began to make it in my own kitchen - sans chicken. Instead it became "you know, those peanuty noodles, the ones that taste like takeout but better." So much better. Everyone always said yes! oh yes! upon its mention as a dinner prospect.

I'm still not sold on a name, but I'll settle on Peanut Sesame Noodles, made acceptable by the addition of sesame seeds this time around. If you like peanut butter and noodles I promise you'll love this dish as I do. But if you need more reasons:
  1. The combination of peanut butter and noodles rivals that of peanut butter and jelly. 
  2. If you manage to not gobble the whole thing up immediately, your Peanut Sesame Noodles will keep refrigerated for probably ever. 
  3. I swear this is a legitimate meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 
  4. Really quick and easy!
  5. Finally, after your first making, just about every ingredient lives on in your pantry. I told you it was easy.

Peanut Sesame Noodles
serves 4

for peanut dressing:
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy, but not natural or fresh-pressed
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 c soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chili paste
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil 
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
a bit less than 1/4 cup very hot water

for the rest:
1 lb fettuccine pasta
1 yellow, red, or orange bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 cucumber, thinly sliced into quarters
3/4 cup frozen peas, defrosted
4 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Puree dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth and transfer to a large bowl.

Cook pasta. Drain in a colander, and with the pepper, cucumber, peas, and scallions, add the pasta to the dressing bowl. Toss to combine until the pasta and vegetables are well coated. Garnish with the remaining toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately or wait until cool.

*the dressing will keep refrigerated if you want to make in advance

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