Meet Jenn Sit, a total foodie and experimenter. She’ll be doing our cookbook reviews and finding those wonderful ingredients that go into making parties more special. Enjoy this total comfort recipe for soba noodles and see what you think.
For the Comfort Binge party, Jenn shares one of her favorite go tos: Soba noodles.
Soba with Miso Butter, Kabocha and Mushroom
Soba, made of buckwheat and packed with protein, iron, and minerals, is endlessly versatile. Traditional Japanese preparations, whether slurped or dipped, are beautifully simple and delicious. Easiest is to toss the springy, nutty noodles with a simple dressing of soy, sesame oil, and rice vinegar or a spicy ginger-spiked peanut sauce. Toppings abound. When spring comes, it’s raw sugar snap peas, asparagus, garlic scapes, and a side of salmon, skin seared crisp. In summer, chopped fat tomatoes, sun-warmed and heavy with ripeness, mingle with creamy avocado, cucumber, and the cool slip of wakame seaweed. A poached egg works anytime of year.
It’s winter now, cold and biting, and I’ve got slipper socks on, so this bowl is getting all sorts of good-for-you things like deep-orange roasted kabocha, mushrooms, and dark greens—and most importantly, the bit of miso butter that pulls it all together and keeps it from feeling too virtuous. Using a tried and true Italian pasta technique, some of the reserved pasta water combines with the miso butter to create a light, creamy sauce. Savory and deep, the miso butter has a way of enhancing the flavors of its fellow players. It’s good like that. —Jenn Sit
Serves 3 or 4
Heads Up: Shimeji Mushrooms: I love shimeji mushrooms, also known as beech mushrooms, with their cute little caps and tender, buttery texture once cooked. Shimeji mushrooms can be found in Asian markets.
PREHEAT OVEN 375°F… PREPARE THE SQUASH
1/4 med kabocha squash (about 1 LB), skin-on, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 TB grapeseed oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, toss squash with with oil, s + p, move to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 min, flipping once midway through, until tender.
MAKE THE SAUCE
1 TB white miso
1 TB unsalted butter, softened
In a small bowl, mash together the miso and butter.
COOK THE NOODLES
8 oz soba noodles
Cook the soba according to the directions on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining.
FINISH THE DISH
1 TB unsalted butter
1/2 LB shimeji mushrooms, trimmed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
2 TB soy sauce
1/4 CUP Shaoxing wine, dry sherry, or sake
3 CUPS packed spinach or other leafy dark greens
2 scallions, chopped
1 TB black sesame seeds
Heat the butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, cook for 3 to 5 min, until the mushrooms begin to release their moisture. Add the garlic, chile flakes, soy sauce, and wine and cook 2 to 3 min more. Add the spinach, tossing to combine, and cook 1 to 2 min, until just wilted. Lower the heat to medium-low and immediately add the drained soba, roasted squash, and miso-butter mixture, tossing to combine well. Add the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, to create a creamy consistency, (the noodles shouldn’t stick together, but shouldn’t be too wet either). Season with salt, to taste. Top the soba with the scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
See more ideas for throwing a laid-back affair in the COMFORT BINGE issue.