Pasta is always a popular meal, from hearty spaghetti and meatballs to simple oil and garlic preparations. Adding sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds and stir-fried vegetables gives basic spaghetti an Asian twist that pairs well with grilled meats or shrimp. The recipe is suitable for vegetarians and vegans as well, making it a great choice for entertaining a crowd.
What is Sesame Oil?
Sesame oil is derived from toasted and pressed sesame seeds. It has a strong, nutty flavour and is used extensively in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. Dark sesame oil is usually added to dishes at the end of cooking to provide flavour. Like most nut oils, it can go rancid so it’s best buy a small bottle and store it in the fridge. Sesame oil is sold at Asian markets and most supermarkets for less than $5 a bottle. Kadoya brand is very popular and is available in 5.5 fluid ounce (163 ml) bottles. Be sure to purchase food grade sesame oil and avoid sesame body oils that are sometimes sold at cosmetic counters and health food stores.
A Versatile Dish
Sesame noodles are extremely versatile because they are delicious when served either hot or cold, making them ideal for buffets or picnics. While asparagus and mushrooms are delicious additions, other ingredients can easily be substituted. Why not add some red pepper strips, snow peas, steamed broccoli or sliced zucchini? For meat eaters, adding some cooked shrimp, grilled chicken or roasted pork tenderloin will make the noodles more substantial and turn them into a filling main course.
Sesame Noodles with Asparagus and Mushrooms
Makes 4 to 6 main course servings
- 1 lb. (500 g) dry long noodles such as spaghetti or linguine
- 12 oz. (340 g) asparagus, cut into 1-1/2” pieces – will equal about 2-1/2 cups
- 4 oz. (113 g) shiitake or button mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced 1/2” thick – will equal about 2 cups
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil, such as safflower
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- Chopped green onion tops for garnish