Friday, February 02, 2007

N is for...

N is for Noodle.
Who: Noodles.
What: Made from flour and water (with eggs, oil and other ingredients added for different types of noodles) noodles come in all shapes (long, short, flat, round, hollow etc).
When: Historians believe that the first form of noodles originated in Central Asia, possibly as early as 1000 B.C..
Where: Many cultures have their own form of noodles. Germany has Spaetzle, Poland has Pierogi, Japan has Udon and Soba.
Why: Noodles can be a good source of fibre and carbohydrates. If the dough contains eggs or oil, or if the noodles are deep fried they are not as good. The sauce or topping you use will also add calories and fat to the dish.

Noodles are available fresh (if you are lucky), dried and frozen.

The most common legend about the origin of noodles is that Marco Polo brought them to Italy from China.

Peanut Noodle "Things"
My Nana was as far as I know, the originator of this recipe. If they ever had a real name it has been long forgotten. My Nana used to make these every Christmas. Now if my Mom doesn't make them I do, for me and my Dad. I have altered them slightly from the original.

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped peanuts
1 1/2 cups dry chow mien noodles

In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. When they are melted and smooth stir in the peanuts and chow mien noodles. Stir well to coat, being careful not to smoosh the noodles too much. Drop by big spoonfuls onto parchment or wax paper and let cool.

Kicky Pasta

I whipped this up one night when there wasn't much in the cupboards. Even when the food supply is low, we always have the basic ingredients for a dish like this on hand.

2 servings

200g dry long pasta of your choice
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 largish tomatos chopped
chile flakes to taste
small handful chopped parsley
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt and add pasta. Cook until al dente, drain and keep warm.
Meanwhile heat a large pan over medium heat and add oil and garlic. Cook stirring often for a few minutes until garlic is just starting to color. Add tomatos and chile flakes and simmer for 5 or 10 minutes. Add the parsley, season with salt and pepper and simmer a couple of minutes more.
Toss with the cooked pasta, sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

I love love love spinach noodles. It's my very favorite kind. Have you ever had fresh spinach pasta? Oooh. Here's a dish full of the three P's - Pasta, Peas and Prosciutto. It's not an every day dinner, what with all the cheese and cream, but it would be perfect for a special dinner for two. And, it hardly takes any time at all.

Spinach Fettucine with Peas and Prosciutto.

serves 2

8 oz fresh or dried spinach fettuccine
1 tb butter
1 tb olive oil
1/3 cup diced red onion
3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips
salt and pepper
2/3 cup cream
2/3 cup fresh or frozen peas, if frozen defrost under water and drain
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a saute pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, just to soften but not brown. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring for another minute. Add the cream and peas and simmer gently for 4 or 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and is warmed through. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. You will not need much salt as the ham and cheese are salty. Pour over the drained pasta and toss well.
Serve straight away.

Gah! I'm sick again, if you can believe it. I'm off to make a cup of tea and find a lozenge. Don't forget that Monday Febuary 5 is the last day to email me your post for Weekend Cookbook Challenge 13. So cook something up this weekend and send it in!!!

Previous Alphabet Posts:
A is for Artichoke
B is for Beet
C is for Carrot
D is for Dogs
E is for Egg
F is for Fondue
G is for Garlic
H is for Hamburger
I is for Indian Food
J is for Jamie Oliver
K is for Kaffir Lime Leaves
L is for Lobster
M is for Mushroom


breadchick said...

My grandmother made something like your peanut noodle things too! She used butterscotch chips and coconut and dry chow mein noodles and called them "haystacks". She made them at Thanksgiving and sat them on the kids table. I remember one year she didn't make them and all 11 of us grandkids go upset so for Christmas she made them but added green food colouring to them.
Sorry you are sick again! Feel Better.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Yes, I remember haystacks!! What fun.
I also love the spinach fettucine - soon I hope to get up to making spinach pasta with my little pasta maker.
Hope you are well soon.

Rachel said...

Feel better!

Also: when I make peas for a pasta dish, I toss them in to boiling pasta water (with the pasta) they float to the top and then I skim them off with a strainer.

Brilynn said...

Is there anything noodles can't do???

Lis said...

I could probably eat some form of noodle every night of the week. I'm bad. Thank gawd, Hubbs won't go for it. I love all 3 of your recipes.. I make a similar spaghetti dish too when I'm not willing to go shopping and want to use up some ingredients - it's wonderful! =)

And I'm right there with ya.. got the sore throat, sniffles, body aches ugh. Feel better soon!

Sara said...

Mary - some of the best recipes come from Grandmothers, I think.

Tanna - if you make your own spinach pasta, please write about it!

Rachel - thanks, and thanks for a great tip. I'm going to try that next time.

Brilynn - if there is, I don't want to know about it.

Lis - me too!

Anonymous said...

oh, haystacks! it seriously wouldn't be christmas without them...some of the best recipes come from mid-western grandmas!