Project of the day: Dinner in 15 minutes
To cut to the chase, we were hungry. And a perhaps a bit tired of having scrambled eggs and bagels for many recent dinners.
This is an awesome quick easy dinner, and a great alternative to tomato sauce for your pasta. And who doesn’t have a jar of peanut butter lying around?
As always, feel free to substitute stuff you don’t have for stuff you do. This is the recipe I came up with (and loved!), but by all means experiment!
The key components here are peanut butter, liquid, and flavor.
Use smooth or crunchy peanut butter or even whole peanuts if you can puree them into homemade peanut butter. Chopped peanuts are a nice addition too, but you need the peanut butter for the creaminess. Ninja wanted coconut milk (which was awesome!) but you can use chicken stock or even some of the pasta water in a pinch.
I had garlic, chili powder, curry paste, green onion, and soy sauce and used them all to much rejoicing, but you could add a little vinegar or lemon instead of the soy sauce, garlic or onion powder if you don’t have fresh, pepper flakes or fresh chillies or even hot sauce for some heat. Curry, ginger, cardamom, or nutmeg would all do well here, take your nose to your spice jars and see what you can come up with.
Pasta with spicy peanut sauce
1/2 package pasta (we used spaghetti)
1/2 package frozen sugar snap peas (or any frozen vegetable. go for a nice sweet crunchy one, like carrots, broccoli, baby corn, water chestnuts…)
Spicy peanut sauce (recipe below)
Put a pot of water on to boil.
While it heats, start making the sauce.
Whenever it boils throw in your pasta and cook for the time on the package. (test it a minute or two early, just in case)
In the last 30 seconds of cooking, throw in half a bag of frozen vegetables and stir until completely thawed and warm through.
Dump into serving bowl and toss with the sauce (see below)
Note on amounts: This is a rough estimate and can easily be adjusted to a full package even two, depending on how many people you’re feeding. Use your judgement, just increase the peanut butter and liquid in the sauce accordingly.
Spicy peanut sauce
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped*
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup full fat coconut milk, including ~2 tablespoons of the cream if it’s separated.
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped peanuts, (optional**)
salt & pepper to taste
In a small saucepan over medium low, heat the garlic, curry, and chili in the oil until soft and fragrant.
Add the soy sauce and the peanut butter and stir until peanut butter is melted.
Add the coconut milk, onion, and peanuts, if desired and stir until incorporated.
Taste and add salt & pepper, and more coconut milk if mixture is too thick.
Keep warm until ready to add to pasta.
*Chop the garlic VERY FINE (use a press if you have one) if you don’t like chunks of garlic in your sauce. Alternately, crush the whole cloves with the back of a knife and add them to the oil whole, then fish them out before serving. I think I will do this next time.
**I like the bits of peanut in the sauce, so I’d recommend using chunky peanut butter or adding chopped nuts at the end (or both if you’re really a fan of them). If you want a smooth sauce, smooth peanut butter is the way to go, and leave out the nuts.