Quick boil some water. It’s default pasta night! No wait– I am kidding. Well, I am not kidding that it is default pasta night but I am kidding that I need boiled water for this pasta. Because who says default pasta needs be traditional “Italian Style” noodles. Not me! Tonight’s default pasta takes a decidedly Asian twist because I am using a package of Chinese style pancit noodles I have had sitting in the fridge for months. Because truthfully I had never cooked with them before so did not really know what to do with them. So there they sat. Until tonight.
Because in true default pasta fashion I just decided to use them on a whim. In fact, it is these very noodles that convinced to take this pasta dish in an easterly direction.
You see, impulsively I bought a couple of pounds of clams today. Now I am sure you know clams don’t keep fresh all that long, so I knew clams were going to be on the menu tonight. I also knew it was going to be default pasta night because when I blindly picked up the clams today, I did not pick up anything else to go along with them. So I knew whatever would be happening to these clams it would have to happen with whatever other ingredients I could find in my fridge or pantry.
But truthfully, I was not in panic mode because I knew I had linguica sausage at home too. It’s a spicy Portuguese pork sausage. It pairs beautifully with clams and a pinch of red pepper. So I intended my default pasta to be these clams, that sausage and a pound of spaghetti. You know a traditional Mediterranean approach to default pasta. It would have been nice too. Not exactly groundbreaking, but delicious nonetheless.
But then I got home and here was that package of pancit noodles mocking me, taunting me. Reminding me that a noodle by any other name is, well a noodle! I could see that package daring to me to step out of my comfort zone.
Well, before I knew it that package was in my hands and at my face. I was tearing it open with my teeth. I was not about to be out done by the likes of a noodle. Oh, no– I stared that pile of noodles down. I even grabbed one and ate it.
I don’t know what I was expecting from that bite, but I found myself a bit surprised. This noodle was not a dried noodle exactly, nor was it cooked either. It was stuck in some noodle nether land, neither here nor there.
Well, off to the computer I went where I discovered this noodle was typically soaked for a few minutes in cool water and then stir-fried. Well, I can do that! See where this is going?
So now I had Asian noodles that wanted (demanded even) to be stir-fired, I had clams that did not care what country they played in, and I had Portuguese sausage that I decided to cajole into a cross-cultural marriage of convenience. Because adding to this trifecta of tastes I had a bunch of Chinese broccoli leftover from the Farmers Market almost 2 weeks ago. These poor spears were on there last day. Cool water and hot oil. I guarantee nobody will know how close this broccoli came to the compost bin.
So there you have it. Default pasta night. It wasn’t quite what I expected when I left the store with those clams, but it’s everything I could have wanted.
- 1 lb Filipino or Chinese style “pancit” noodles
- 1 lb Chinese broccoli
- 1 T peanut oil
- 4 green onions, sliced vertically and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 clv garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 piece of ginger 1-inch long, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 Thai bird chili pepper, thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 lb small clams, well scrubbed
- 1/2 c dry vermouth
- 2 T toasted sesame oil
- 1 c water
- 2 T mint leaves, chopped
- asian fish sauce to taste
Fill a large bowl with cool water. Soak the noodles in it swishing them around the unclump them. Set aside to soften about 10 minutes.
Rinse the broccoli and trim the ends. Separate the large outer leaves from the inner stalks so they are all relatively the same size. Par any particularly thick stalks with a knife.
Heat peanut oil in a large wok set over high heat. When the wok is hot add the green onions, garlic, ginger, and chiles. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the clams and stir-fry, uncovered about 3 minutes. Add the vermouth and cover the wok. Cook until clams open, about 3 minutes. Carefully remove all the clams to a large serving plate and discard any that do not open.
Add the sesame oil to the wok. Drain the noodles and add them along with 1 cup water to the hot wok, shaking the pan to get them well-coated in the liquid. Lay the cleaned and prepped Chinese broccoli on top. Cover the wok and cook until the broccoli begins to wilt about 3 minutes. Remove the broccoli to the serving plate with the clams. Add the sausage, shaking the wok until it is just heated through and well incorporated into the noodles. Pour the noodles and all the liquid onto the serving tray. Garnish with chopped mint and season with Asian fish sauce.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD