Monday, May 18, 2009

Cooking on a Budget: Fettucine and Baby Bok Choy with Peanut Sauce

I wasn't sure how this dish would fit into my new "Cooking on a Budget" category, but I have been wanting to make peanut sauce for the longest time and I had most of the ingredients on hand already so I thought what the heck? If it turns out to not be so economical, I just won't put it into that category. Even the most financially challenged need to splurge every now and then.

But while it wasn't the least expensive thing to make, it turns out that it's actually cheap enough to justify having every once in a while, if not every day. The baby bok choy looked super fresh and tasty at the grocery store and a bunch of scallions seemed like it would round out the green factor. I also bought a bunch of cilantro to throw in at the end, but forgot all about it, which happens often. I need to remember to pull it out and chop it when I'm prepping all of the other ingredients instead of leaving it for later - more often than not I forget and it never finds its way into the dish.

I also meant to put peas into this, but forgot to take them out of the freezer. I don't think my mind was completely on what I was doing when I was putting this together. The good thing is that, while it would have been that much better if I had remembered to put everything into it, it was pretty damned good without.

The picture doesn't really do it justice. The sauce is pretty much the same color as the pasta so it doesn't look like there's much on the plate, but there's definintely enough sauce to coat all of the pasta quite nicely, and give it a rich texture and a creamy, satisfying mouth-feel. If I'd thought about it in time, I would have chopped up some peanuts to garnish as well. I'll do that next time.

The recipe only uses about a fourth of a cup of coconut milk. In the past I would find other uses for the remainder right away, but in these more budget-conscious days, I divided up the rest and froze it for the future.

Total Cost: $9.02 Cost per Serving: $2.26
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes

FETTUCINE WITH BABY BOK CHOY IN PEANUT SAUCE

1 pound whole wheat fettuccine

1/4 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (to taste)
1 clove crushed garlic

2 Tbsp canola oil
4-5 baby bok choy, trimmed and chopped
1 bunch green onions, some of the green tips chopped fine for garnish, the rest sliced into 1-1/2-inch pieces (greens and whites)
1/2 cup frozen peas (they don't have to be defrosted, but they can be)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Optional for garnish:
chopped peanuts
finely chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges

Place large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil.

While the water is heating, mix together the peanut butter, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, coconut milk, water, red chili flakes, and garlic. Set aside.

When the water is boiling, salt liberally and add fettuccine, cooking until two minutes less than package directions.

While the fettuccine is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bok choy and saute for 1 minutes. Add scallions and cook for an additional minute. Add peanut sauce and cook for about five minutes, until it thickens. Reduce heat as low as it will go until the pasta is ready. Just before adding the pasta, add the peas and stir into the sauce.

Drain pasta, reserving some of the liquid, and add to the sauce. Mix well. Add more pasta liquid if needed to achieve smooth, creamy consistency.

Serve topped with more cilantro and chopped peanuts, with additional lime wedges.

4/27/09

Exported from Home Cookin 5.7 (www.mountain-software.com)

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