No, this is not an Italian recipe. But I crave pasta so often that sometimes, I need to go the Asian route to bring some variety to my diet. This fettuccine with peanut-sunflower sauce takes 20 minutes and is a nice change of pace.
There are many peanut sauce recipes out there, but I've taken the liberty of adding roasted sunflower seeds (one of our favorite snacks) to the peanut butter base. I just throw everything in my food processor (a blender works too) and end up with a creamy, nutty sauce with a nice vinegar kick.
Unlike other recipes I've seen, I keep the sauce separate from the pasta and stir some into each serving. Otherwise, if you mix all of the sauce with the pasta, it will become dry, and any leftovers just aren't appealing. So, I simply add some butter and reserved cooking water to the fettuccine after it's drained, then stir in the raw veggies (green onions and shredded carrots, but a red pepper would be nice too).
Each person can then decide how much peanut-sunflower sauce gets added to his or her serving. And with the butter, there's no need for any sesame oil, which can be overpowering.
I'm not claiming this fettuccine with peanut-sunflower sauce is authentically Asian, but it's close enough for me. And just to clarify, I'm okay if you prefer to call this meal "noodles" with peanut-sunflower sauce.
Just as long as you never, ever refer to pasta in an Italian dish as "noodles." Shudder! Cringe! Involuntary shrug!
P.S. The chopsticks in the photo are merely props. I couldn't use them to save my life. But give me a fork and a tablespoon, and I can twirl my pasta like nobody's business.
(Recipe Source: Cooking with Mamma C)
Fettuccine with Peanut-Sunflower Sauce
- 1 large carrot (peeled & shredded)
- 3 green onions (cut into small pieces)
- 1 red yellow or orange bell pepper (diced; optional)
- salted water for cooking
- 1 pound fettuccine (or linguine or soba noodles)
- 1 ladle reserved cooking water (½ cup)
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- ½ cup peanut butter (natural works well)
- ¼ cup roasted (salted sunflower seeds)
- ¼ cup soy sauce (reduced sodium)
- ¼ cup rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
- ¼ cup hot water
- 5 dashes ginger
- 5 dashes red pepper flakes
- 4 dashes garlic powder
- Place a pasta pot filled ⅔ full with hot salted water on the stove to boil.
- Rinse, peel and shred your carrot in a food processor or using a grater. Rinse the green onions and trim off the root ends and any wilted green parts. Use scissors or a knife to cut the onions into small pieces. If using a bell pepper, rinse it, cut it in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Dice the peppers. Set aside all of your veggies, as they will be used raw in this dish.
- When the water is boiling, add your fettuccine to the pot and give it a stir. Prepare your sauce while you occasionally stir the pasta.
- In a food processor or blender, add all of the sauce ingredients. Process or blend until it's smooth.
- Reserve a ladle of cooking water from the pasta pot and set it aside in a bowl. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, tasting it three minutes before the time listed on the package to see if it is done. When it is cooked, drain the pasta in a colander in the sink.
- Transfer the pasta back to your pot and stir in the butter and reserved water. Stir in your veggies, reserving some for garnishing each serving, if you wish.
- To serve, plate the fettuccine and veggies and stir in some peanut-sunflower sauce. Garnish with reserved veggies and onions, if you wish.
- Store leftover pasta and sauce separately in the refrigerator for up to four days.