I love cookbooks. While other kids were reading Babysitters Club, I was reading my mom’s Betty Crocker cookbooks. If there was one with good (or bad) photography, I was in heaven.
As an adult, I still love cookbooks. Give me one heavy on food porn (photography) and I’m still in heaven.
When I was browsing the cookbook section at Barnes and Noble, shopping with my birthday gift card, I found Milk Street Tuesday Nights by Christopher Kimball.. We have been receiving Milk Street magazine for the last year, thanks to a very good gifting future mother-in-law. Seriously, she gives the best gifts! So I knew this was going to be a good cookbook if it even came close to the same quality of the magazine.
My fiance does most of the cooking in our house. As much as I love cookbooks, I don’t love cooking. I try. I really do. I want to love it because I love food so much, but I get stressed out easily if a dish has more than two steps. Step 1: Pick up phone Step 2: Call in order. Beyond that? Stress.
But because I want to try cooking healthy, and save money, I have been looking for recipes that I can cook once and be left with lots of leftovers. Basically a good ROI on my cooking efforts. When I came across this soba noodle recipe, in my new cookbook by Christopher Kimball, I knew I had found a winner.
Bonus that the recipe has leeks! I’m always trying to figure out how to use leeks. It’s not an obvious vegetable to me like a sweet potato. I can make a million things with sweet potatoes. But leeks? Other than soup, I have no idea.
I made the soba noodles for lunch on a Sunday, and since the leftovers were great cold, I had lunch for several days after!
I found the Korean chili paste at the asian grocery. You could probably use sriracha instead. It seemed to have a similar flavor profile, but I highly suggest the Korean paste. It was good and spicy. Go light if you fear the fire!
Spicy Garlic Soba with Greens
Start to finish 20 minutes
8.8 Ounce package dried soba noodles (spend extra on the good buckwheat-wheat)
1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
⅓ cup soy sauce (they recommend low sodium but we just used less salt at the end)
2 tbsp salted butter
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (2 cups)
8 medium garlic cloves, minced
5 tsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 pounds kale, stemmed and cut crosswise into ½ inch ribbons
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add the soba and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of cooking water, then drain and rinse the noodles under cold water. Drain well, then set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the reserved soba cooking water, brown sugar, and soy sauce until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Return the pot to medium-high and melt the butter. Once foaming has subsided, add the leeks and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve 3 tbsp of the leeks for garnish. Add the garlic, gochujang and ginger. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the kale and reserved soy sauce mixture. Cover and cook on medium until greens are wilted and tender. 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the noodles, using tongs to gently loosen them as they go into the pot. Stir to combine and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowls and top with the reserved leeks.