Cold Sesame Noodles with Broccoli and Cashews

    This is my version of the traditional Chinese dish. Because it is so rich and satisfying, I prefer to serve it as a main course as one would serve other pasta salads.

    SERVES 4

    1 bunch broccoli, florets only, cut into small pieces

    12 ounces thin spaghetti or vermicelli

    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoonВ Asian sesame oilimage

    Вѕ cup unsalted roasted cashews (see Notes)

    в…“ cupВ Asian sesame pasteimage

    2 teaspoons hot spicy oilimage

    3 tablespoons tamari or other soy sauce

    1 tablespoon Chinese rice vinegar (or other vinegar)

    Вј cup peanut oil

    4 cloves garlic, minced

    1. In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil and blanch the broccoli for 2 minutes. Drain and immerse in cold water until thoroughly cold. Pat dry with a towel until very dry and set aside.
    2. Boil the noodles for a few minutes, or until al dente. Drain in a colander very well and pat with paper towels. Place the noodles in a large serving bowl and add 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil. Toss thoroughly.
    3. Add the broccoli and cashews and toss again.
    4. In a separate small bowl stir the sesame paste with a fork until smooth (see Notes). Add the spicy oil, soy sauce, vinegar, remaining sesame oil, peanut oil, and garlic, and stir to blend.
    5. Add the sauce to the noodles and toss well. The salad can be served immediately, or covered and chilled for up to 48 hours. Serve cool, not cold.

    NOTES: You can use raw cashews and toast them in the oven (400В°F) until golden. When you purchase sesame paste it will probably have separated in the jar. It is best to put all of it in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Return it to the jar and measure the amount needed.