Ashley's Asian Angel Hair

My friend Ashley is an especially talented hostess – I always admire that she’s so comfortable and confident with entertaining.  I try to be more like her that way, but I have to admit, I’m a nervous entertainer.

I tend to over think things a little bit – that is,  stress out and fret over everything from deciding the perfect menu, to having the proper candles and placemats, to selecting the right music, and even whether the guests will know each other well enough to make friendly conversation….ugh, it’s the entertaining minutia that bogs me down, I guess.  In fact, I’m getting a knot in my stomach just listing off all of these hostessing duties, and I’m not even planning a dinner party right now!  Gah!  I’m a head case, what can I tell you.

Anyway, I love to be invited to Ashley’s house because she puts all of her guests at ease.  She greets each one with a big hug and an even bigger glass of wine, and welcomes everyone in to her kitchen where she resumes prepping, or chopping, or sautéing something that smells delicious.  In the summertime we dine on her pretty patio, and in the winter, there’s always a fire roaring in her cozy familyroom.  The meal is always wonderful, the conversation flows easily (as do the cocktails), and inevitably, the evening ends too soon.

When I call to thank her the next day, I nearly always hit her up to share at least one of the recipes from the night before.  Most recently (just last week in fact), she served this delicious pasta dish that all of us just adored, and she was kind enough to share it with me.

Just a thought – she doesn’t know that I’m blogging about her right now – I hope she doesn’t mind!  After all, I’d sure hate to be kicked off the guest list for her next soiree… so just to be safe, let’s not tell her she’s being mentioned here today.

Some notes on the recipe:  you might notice that my photo doesn’t look a thing like angel hair; that’s because it’s not.  I had a little mishap; not my proudest moment in the kitchen, but I will share my mistake with you.  Please don’t go and sacrifice good pasta like I did!

I neglected to give my pasta a quick little rinse after I drained it.  Therefore, it stuck together in a giant glutenous glob, and there was no way to fix it.  I had to start over with the pasta step, and so it’s a good thing I had picked up the Creamette Pasta, five boxes for $5.00!  Having the extra pasta on hand saved me another trip to the Store, only I had to use spaghetti instead of angel hair.  Worked just fine, by the way, but the moral of the story is to remember to give your pasta a nice little rinse.  Then please drain off all the water you can, or your delicious dressing will not stick, and that would be too bad, because the dressing is fabulous!

I’m looking forward to changing the recipe up a little bit next time I make it. For instance, I think it would be great with baby bok choy (or even purple cabbage) instead of the radicchio; or a little bit of fish sauce and mint to make it slightly more “Thai” flavored.  The tweaks are endless!  Enjoy!

Ashley’s Awesome Asian Angel Hair

Serves:  6-8

  • 1 lb.  angel hair pasta (I used the Creamette that’s on sale!)
  • ¼ c. peanut oil
  • ¼ c. soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 t. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 t. red pepper flakes
  • 2 t. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 t. minced fresh garlic
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 ½ c. coarsely chopped radicchio
  • ½ c. chopped scallions (on sale this week)
  • 1/3 c. minced cilantro

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.  Drain and rinse lightly so your pasta doesn’t stick together in a big glob!  Place in a large bowl.

Place all dressing ingredients into a blender or food processor and process for 30 seconds or so.  (I used a plain old jar with a lid and this worked out just fine).

Toss the pasta with the dressing and coat each noodle thoroughly.  If you’re making this ahead of time, cover the pasta and chill it in the fridge.

When you’re ready to serve, add in the radicchio, scallions, and cilantro, mixing to blend.  Serve at room temperature.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | July 7th, 2009