Vietnamese American Garlic Noodles
Here in the Bay Area, Asian Americans love garlic noodles. Black and Latino folks love garlic noodles. Indeed, once you start looking for garlic noodles, it seems, you find them everywhere. These noodles, based on the noodle dish originally created and served by Helene An at San Francisco’s Thanh Long restaurant, are extraordinarily simple and delicious on their own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fancy them up a bit. They go very well with seafood, and some raw, shell-on shrimp stir-fried along with the garlic right from the start would be an excellent addition.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 20 medium garlic cloves minced or smashed in a mortar and pestle
- 4 teaspoons oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce or shoyu
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 pound dry spaghetti
- 1 ounce grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano heaping 1/4 cup
- A small handful of thinly sliced scallions optional
- Meanwhile, bring 1 1/2 inches of water to a boil in a 12-inch skillet or sauté pan over high heat. (Alternatively, heat up just enough water to cover the spaghetti in a large Dutch oven or saucepan.) Add the pasta, stir a few times to make sure it’s not clumping, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente (about 2 minutes short of the recommended cook time on the package).
- Using tongs, transfer the cooked pasta to the garlic sauce, along with whatever water clings to it. (Reserve the pasta water in the skillet.) Increase the heat to high, add the cheese to the wok, and stir with a wooden spatula or spoon and toss vigorously until the sauce is creamy and emulsified, about 30 seconds. If the sauce looks too watery, let it keep reducing. If it looks greasy, splash some more cooking water into it and let it re-emulsify. Stir in the scallions (if using), and serve immediately.
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