(Photos by Pam Wiley, Virginia Farm Bureau)
We’ve hit that point in the year where my husband and I are trying to eat at least one cucumber a day, just to keep up with the garden. But even with that quota, and taking them to my father and offering them to friends (Why do I know so many people who don’t eat cucumbers?), we’re up to our necks in cukes.
This is a recipe we’ve used exclusively in the summer for as long as we’ve had a garden. I honestly don’t recall where we found it, but we’ve changed the Asian-inspired original so much since then that it probably doesn’t matter. We’ve added chicken, we’ve added heat, we’ve tried all different kinds of pasta—and you’re welcome to make your own alterations.
Cucumbers & Pasta
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta OR herbed fettuccine OR sesame noodles
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
⅓ cup smooth peanut butter
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon molasses
dash of hot sauce (such as Sriracha) OR a dab of
Szechuan chili paste
1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1” pieces
peanut oil for frying
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
½ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup chopped peanuts
2 tablespoons ribbon-cut regular, purple or Thai basil
Process all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth (Those mini-choppers are good for this). Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pan.
In a wok or nonstick skillet with hot peanut oil, sauté garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes briefly, then add chicken and stir-fry. Add sauce to cooked chicken, and then stir in cooked pasta.
Arrange chicken/pasta mixture on a large serving platter, and top with chopped cucumbers, green onions, chopped peanuts and basil.