It does not take all 10 fingers and toes for me to count the number of times I have been moved to reproduce a dish featured on one of those cooking shows where the host attempts to re-create a restaurant favorite. But this one grabbed my attention, because it seemed easy and different.
The sauce is no-cook. The gluten-free noodles are glass, made from sweet potato. I like the look and chew of them. They pick up the bright green of the sauce, and taste just as good at any temperature. The down side is that I could not find them at regular grocery stores, so you'll have to make a special trip to a large Asian supermarket. It'll be worth it; buy a few packages and you'll be set to make this recipe again and again -- perhaps adding a few vegetables or other herbs as you like. Of course, you can use rice stick noodles or vermicelli instead.
A few hints: Start the noodles cooking water with hot from the tap or just-boiled water from the kettle, to stay on schedule. It won't affect the texture of these noodles. The original recipe called for powdered vitamin C, which is expensive. Its function here is to preserve the beautiful color of the sauce, which will darken slightly when applied to the hot noodles or after a few hours' refrigeration. (The ice-bath step also helps to preserve the sauce's color.) Feel free to leave out the vitamin C, especially if you plan to eat these right away. Or you can squeeze in a few tablespoons of lime juice, which will retard the discoloration.
We found the powdered vitamin C (which is used to help preserve the green of the sauce) at health food stores and Sempio brand Korean glass noodles at Super H Mart in Fairfax.
- About 8 ounces (half a package) Korean glass noodles (see headnote)
- 3/4 cup pine nuts, plus more for garnish
- 3 scallions
- 1 large jalapeño pepper
- About 20 stems chives
- 1 or 2 ripe Hass avocados
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 ounce powdered vitamin c (see headnote; optional)
- 3/4 cup packed Thai basil leaves (may substitute Genovese or green basil leaves)
- About 1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the Korean glass noodles and cook according to the package directions (6 to 8 minutes), stirring after a few minutes to detangle them a bit and make sure they are all submerged.
Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath (ice, cold water) in a large bowl; this will be used to chill the sauce for the noodles.
Puree the pine nuts in a food processor for a few minutes; they will morph from fine crumbs to a paste. Transfer to a large zip-top bag.
As you prep the following ingredients, transfer them to a food processor (no need to rinse it out from the pine nuts): Cut the white and light-green parts of the scallions into chunks. Stem and seed the jalapeno, then coarsely chop the remaining flesh. Snip enough chives to yield about 2 tablespoons. Scoop out the flesh of the avocado (to taste; using all of it will make the sauce thick and milder-tasting).
Add the salt, sugar, the powdered vitamin C, if using, to the mix in the food processor. Puree until smooth. Stop to add the basil, packing the leaves down so they will blend easily. Puree to form a smooth sauce. Transfer the mixture to the zip-top bag; seal, pressing out as much air as possible and working to incorporate the pureed pine nuts, then immediately place the bag in the ice-water bath where it should sit until you are ready to assemble the dish.
The noodles will be translucent and flexible when they're done. Drain, then transfer to a mixing bowl and cover to keep warm.
Empty the entire bag of sauce over the still-warm noodles; toss to coat evenly.
Divide among individual bowls; garnish with the cheese.
Adapted from a recipe at www.cookingchanneltv.com.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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