Nutty, wholesome Japanese buckwheat noodles and bok choy are sauced with a puree of toasted walnuts and miso that delivers a double hit of umami. The starchy water that results from cooking soba is called soba yu; we use a little of it to help the sauce blend smoothly and cling to the noodles. You can use either sweeter, milder white miso or saltier, earthier red miso — or even a blend if you happen to have both. To add a little citrusy heat and hints of sesame, offer shichimi togarashi, a Japanese spice blend, at the table for sprinkling to taste.
- 10 ounces dried soba noodles
- 1 pound baby bok choy, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise
- ⅓ cup walnuts, toasted, plus chopped toasted walnuts, to serve
- 3 tablespoons white miso or red miso
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- Lemon wedges, to serve
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the soba and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve ¾ cup cooking water, then add the bok choy to the pot and cook until the soba is tender and the bok choy is crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander, rinse and drain again; return to the pot.
In a blender, combine 3 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water, the walnuts, miso, oil and garlic; puree until smooth. Add the walnut-miso mixture to the soba mixture, then toss, adding more reserved water as needed until the noodles are lightly sauced. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with chopped toasted walnuts and with lemon wedges.
Cook With Christopher
Two more recipes from Milk Street Noodles for AARP members to try:
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