Would it surprise anyone to know that my fall has been filled with quick, simple dinners that translate well into leftovers that I can tote to work or school the next day? Life has been intensely busy with school, work at the clinic, and wedding planning. Most of it has been challenging and fun, but it hasn’t left a lot of time for the cooking projects I’d like to do. The transition from fall to winter is one of my favorite seasons in part because of all the produce and comfort foods that are great this time of year. It isn’t quite winter here yet in Boston, so hopefully I’ll get to showcase a few more of my ideas. And I only have two more weeks left in my Master’s program before my internship starts, so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel work-wise.
But for now, I’m really focusing on simple, cheap, and delicious. Which, luckily, this satay pasta is. It’s got the crunch and brightness of fresh vegetables cooked to just tender, with a luscious peanut sauce on top. I’ve made the pasta + tofu + peanut sauce combination before, and I think it’s a great introduction to new flavors and ingredients (like tofu or bok choy).
Crisp Vegetables & Pasta in Satay Sauce
12 ounces spaghetti
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 pound extra-firm tofu
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced into bite-size pieces
1 small head baby bok choy, washed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
For the Sate Sauce
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 15-ounce can light coconut milk (or 1 1/2 cups)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or less to cut down on the spice)
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until done, roughly 9-12 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
2. Slice the tofu into small cubes and allow to drain on paper towels. Heat the peanut oil in a skillet, then gently pan-fry the tofu until crisped on the sides and heated through. When the spaghetti has about 2 minutes left to cook, add the vegetables to the skillet and allow to sautee until slightly tender.
3. Meanwhile, make the sate sauce by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and whisking or stirring until the peanut butter and coconut milk are thoroughly incorporated.
4. Serve by spooning spaghetti on to individual plates, topping generously with vegetables and tofu, and drizzling the peanut sate sauce on top until coated. Serve hot.