Garlic + Sesame Noodles with Mushrooms + Broccoli

Author's note:

Andrea Nouven, one of the best cookbook authors I know, created a great recipe for umami garlic noodles with mustard greens in her book Vietnamese Food Any Day. These noodles, full of garlic and greens are inspired by hers, but they go in a sesame heavy direction and include a triple shot of the stuff (tahini paste! toasted oil! seeds!). To balance out the savory sesame, garlic, mushroom combination, the noodles get topped with sweet, fresh tomatoes and a handful of cilantro, which makes everything taste awake (if you're not into cilantro, use a couple of thinly sliced scallions, or just skip it.) I love eating this just as sit's made, when the noodles are hot and the tomatoes are cold, but it can also be served at room temperature, making it great for entertaining, bringing to work or school, or taking to a picnic.

My note:

She wasn't kidding about that triple shot of sesame! I love sesame, so I've made this like 4 times already. So so good. We've made this with soba noodles and spaghetti, but I like it better with sturdy spaghetti. (Or I just don't know how to cook soba noodles.) Also, we never have broccolini, so we just cut up broccoli.

Kosher salt

8 oz (227 g) dried Chinese wheat noodles (lo mein noodles, or substitute ramen noodles, spaghetti, or buckwheat soba)

1 lb (453 g) broccolini, cut into bite-size pieces

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (sambal or similar)

3 tbsp neutral oil

1/2 lb (227 g) cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

1 tbsp sesame seeds

2 large handfuls (lol) cherry tomatoes, halved

1 large handful cilantro, roughly chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Add the noodles, and set a timer for 2 minutes less than their package instructs. When it goes off, add the broccolini and cook for just a minute (so you're cooking the broccolini for a minute and the noodles a minute less than they're supposed to). Reserve 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the cooking liquid and then strain the noodles and broccolini in a colander and hang onto them.

Place the reserved cooking liquid in a small bowl with the garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, tahini, toasted sesame oil, and chili garlic sauce. Stir well to combine and reserve the sauce.

Place the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring now and then, until they're softened and browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and cook, stirring, just until the seeds are fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture, noodles, and broccolini. Cook, stirring everything together with 2 large wooden spoons (like you were mixing a salad) until everything is coated with sauce, about 2 minutes. Season the noodles to taste with salt.

Transfer the noodles to a serving platter. Top with the tomatoes and cilantro. Serve immediately. (Emphasis mine. lol)