NOTES FROM THE TEST KITCHEN WHO:
Mrslarkin is a pastry chef from Pound Ridge, New York, who sells her baked goodies at farmers markets across the region.
WHAT: A picnic-worthy pasta salad using mayonnaise in place of peanut sauce.
HOW TO: Cream together peanut butter and miso until smooth, then add additional spice with vinegar and chili garlic sauce, then finish with honey and sesame oil to soften the sauce. Mix in the elbow noodles, scallions, watermelon radish, carrots, broccoli florets, and cilantro. Garnish with chopped peanuts.
WHY DO WE LIKE IT? The peanut butter, miso, and vinegar combination creates a creamy sauce that will have you licking your bowl. Moreover, many Asian-inspired peanut butter recipes are rich.
- 1 pound whole-wheat elbow pasta (or desired form)
- 1 pound creamy peanut butter (I used natural unsweetened, which is more gritty, but use what you like)
- 1 tablespoon of white miso
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce, plus as desired (Get a jar of Huy Fong and keep it in the fridge; it’s insanely wonderful)
- 2 tsp. chopped ginger
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 2 teaspoons honey (or less, if using sweetened peanut butter)
- 4 tsp sesame oil + more to taste
- 1 bunch trimmed and sliced scallions
- 1 watermelon radish, sliced into 2-inch sticks
- 1 medium peeled and sliced carrot into 2-inch sticks
- 1 cup blanched or lightly steamed broccoli florets, chopped
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Set aside roughly a cup of the pasta water for the sauce. Drain the pasta. In a large mixing basin, combine all of the ingredients.
Combine the peanut butter, miso, vinegar, chili garlic sauce, ginger, garlic, honey, and sesame oil in a medium mixing bowl. Stir add 1/8-cup increments of pasta water until you obtain a smooth, sauce-like consistency. It should be loose but not watery, so gradually add the water. Season as desired.
- Pour half of the sauce over the spaghetti and toss to combine. Toss the remaining veggies, cilantro, & sauce into the pasta and mix thoroughly, reserving a piece of each item and herb for garnish. Season as desired.
Serve with saved veggies, cilantro, and peanuts as garnish. Serve at room temperature.