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This dish went through quite an evolution from conception to execution.  First of all, I’ve never cooked (maybe I’ve never even eaten) soba noodles, which are made out of buckwheat.  The natural use for them, since they’re Japanese, is some sort of Asian noodle-bowl creation, which was my plan.  I wanted to cook the noodles to al-dente, then toss them into a pan with some matchstick vegetables, hoisin, peanut butter, and soy sauce, and finish everything together to really get the sauce to cook into the noodles.

Instead, Mom came home from Brother’s football game and said to me “Oh my god, please tell me you’re cooking!”  So I shrugged, belatedly doubled the entire recipe halfway through, and added some cubed-up pork.  The noodles went far beyond al-dente (oops), and the vegetables I added late in the game weren’t matchsticked, as Mom doesn’t like them that way.  So as for this recipe – give it a little wiggle room.  Taste as you go, season how you want, and if it comes out as tasty and spicy as ours did, you hit the nail right on the head.

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Peanutty Soba Noodles with Pork

Serves 2-3

2 tbsp olive oil

1-2 tsp minced garlic

2 tbsp thinly chopped red onion

2-3 tsp hoisin sauce

2-3 tsp creamy peanut butter

2-3 cups matchsticked vegetables (I used eggplant, zuchini, yellow squash, and red pepper)

2 tbsp beef stock

2-3 tbsp soy sauce (sounds like a lot, and it is, but this and the hoisin replace any salt in the dish – feel free to start sparingly and work your way up)

Red pepper flakes to taste

1 lb. cubed pork

Cook the soba noodles in boiling, salted water for 4-5 minutes, or until al-dente.  Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.  Add cubed pork.  Turn/stir cubes every few minutes to ensure even cooking.

In a separate pan, also over medium heat, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Add garlic and onion, and cook 1-2 minutes.  Add broth, peanut butter, and hoisin, and mix together with onion and garlic in the bottom of the pan to create a pan sauce.  Add vegetables and stir to coat everything.  Add soy sauce and red pepper flakes.  Once vegetables are nearly cooked, add the cooked pork to the pan, followed by the pasta.  Stir and cook until noodles are at desired tenderness and vegetables and meat are cooked through.

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GUESS WHAT!?  Boyfriend’s back in town!  Well, actually we’re BOTH out of town: we’re in State College, Pennsylvania watching the Nittany Lions beat the pants off of the Hoosiers in their last home game of the season!!  Since we’ll be cuddling under the Penn State Snuggie I sent him last week (seriously) and tailgating all day, someone should be enjoying some healthy meals – stay tuned for more of the same for the rest of the weekend!

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