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Spicy Peanut Noodles

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"My mother used to make this," says Joanne Chang. "I learned to re-create it in college, far away from any Chinese markets." Pantry staples like spaghetti and peanut butter are perfect stand-ins for the traditional ingredients. To give spaghetti the soft texture of Chinese noodles, cook it a few minutes longer than the box advises.

  1. 1 pound spaghetti
  2. 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  3. 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  4. 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  5. 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  6. 1/4 cup water
  7. 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  8. 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  9. One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  10. 1 large garlic clove
  11. 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  12. 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  13. Lime wedges, for serving
  1. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water until cooled. Drain well.
  2. In a blender, puree the peanut butter with 6 tablespoons of the vinegar, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the soy sauce, water, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, ginger and garlic. Transfer 1/2 cup of the peanut dressing to a bowl and toss with the noodles.
  3. In another bowl, toss the celery with the cilantro and the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
  4. Transfer the noodles to bowls and drizzle with the remaining peanut dressing. Top with the celery and serve with lime wedges.
Make Ahead The peanut dressing can be refrigerated for 2 days.
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