When my friend Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! recently announced the Quickies Noodle Challenge he’s co-hosting with Denise of Quickies on the Dinner Table, I immediately knew I wanted to participate. The timing was perfect since I’ve been dying for peanut noodles, but I was feeling adventurous and didn’t want to make peanut noodles in the traditional sense…I started thinking about how I could put my own twist on it.
I was thinking about non-traditional burger recipes (Lazaro’s Coconut Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Potage Sliders inspired me!) and pasta patties came to mind. I’ve never had pasta patties before, but I imagined how the pasta would get slightly crunchy on the outside and be nice and chewy in the center…how could they not be fantastic? To make them, I mixed an egg with the pasta to act as a binder and also to add some protein to the dish. To the pasta patties I also added scallion and toasted sesame seeds for flavor.
They were every bit as amazing as I thought they would be, especially with the peanut sauce. To keep the burger idea going, I served them on rolls with some marinated veggies. Be forewarned though, serving the pasta patties on rolls yields 4 servings instead of 2 (they are very filling!). That being said, I actually preferred them without the rolls. (I love the crunchy texture of the pasta patties and their texture somehow gets lost a little when they’re served on rolls.) The marinated veggies were a wink and a nudge to a traditional Thai cucumber salad, but with my own twists; the bright and fresh-flavored veggies ended up being a really nice pairing with the pasta patties.
When I make this again, I think I’ll forgo the rolls and serve the patties with the peanut sauce on side for dipping…and I’ll turn those delicious marinated veggies into a whole salad with the addition of scallion and shredded cabbage (oooh, wouldn’t red cabbage be pretty?) and maybe a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds on top. Mmm, can’t wait!
(Yield: 2 servings if you’re eating the pasta patties alone, or 4 servings if you make the patties into sandwiches)
1 TB rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp crushed dried mint
1 carrot, peeled
1/4 c thinly sliced cucumber into rounds
4 thin slices red onion
2 oz spaghetti noodles, cooked to al dente (they don’t have to be cooked fresh for this dish, leftover noodles are fine)
1 large egg, beaten
1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced
1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 TB canola oil
Salt and pepper
2 good quality rolls, split in half crosswise
Peanut sauce (recipe below)
1 1/2 TB peanut butter
1 TB water
1 tsp (lightly packed) brown sugar
1 tsp tamari sauce
2 tsp lime juice
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, mint, and 1/2 tsp salt. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the carrots into long, thin ribbons. Add the carrot ribbons, cucumber slices, and onion slices to the bowl with the rice vinegar mixture. Add enough cold water to just cover the veggies and let the veggies soak 15-20 minutes, then drain.
In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the peanut sauce.
In a medium bowl, combine the spaghetti noodles, beaten egg, scallion, sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add canola oil to a 6-inch frying pan over medium heat; once oil is hot, add half the noodle mixture. Cook until golden and crispy (about 2 minutes), then use 2 spatulas to flip pasta patty and cook until golden and crispy on the second side (about 2 minutes). Transfer the patty to a paper-towel lined plate to drain any excess oil and cook the remaining pasta patty in the same way.
To assemble the sandwiches, put the pasta patties on the bottom buns; top with carrot ribbons, cucumber slices, and onion slices. Spread about 1 TB peanut sauce on the inside of each top bun and serve with the remaining peanut sauce for dipping.