This Asian-style pasta dish gets its rich flavor from a sauce made with milk infused with cilantro, lemon grass and ginger. To get the best flavor out of the lemon grass, be sure to bruise it first. The easiest way to do this is to pound it gently with a rolling pin.
The recipe calls for 2 percent milk, but coconut milk also would be a great choice; it pairs wonderfully with lemon grass.
Creamy Soba Noodles with Lemon Grass
3 cups 2 percent milk
5 sprigs cilantro
2 stalks lemon grass, cut into 1-inch lengths, then bruised
2-inch chunk fresh ginger, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 pound white button mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
6 ounce soba noodles
1 scallion, thinly sliced, to garnish
In a small saucepan over medium, heat the milk until warm. Reduce heat to low, add the cilantro, lemon grass and ginger, then gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
After 15 minutes, in a large saute pan over medium-high, heat the peanut oil. Add the garlic, thyme, onion and mushrooms, then saute until tender. Add the mirin to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan.
Strain the milk mixture into the pan, discarding the cilantro, lemon grass and ginger. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the soba noodles and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3 minutes.
To serve, garnish with scallion slices.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 445 calories; 113 calories from fat; 13 grams fat (5 grams saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 15 milligrams cholesterol; 67 grams carbohydrate; 14 grams protein; 6 grams fiber; 161 milligrams sodium. Serves 4.