The word noodle itself is derived from the German "nudel" and the first recorded writings about noodles were during the East Han Dynasty between AD 25 and 220. They differ from pasta in one major way: egg solids. The National Pasta Association (NPA) says that in order for a noodle to be legally considered a noodle, it must contain 5.5 percent egg solids by weight. Noodles are also typically made from durum flour (more finely ground than pasta's semolina). And yes, pasta has its own month - October.
Technicalities aside, here is one of my favorite noodle dishes using some of my favorite noodles - soba noodles from Japan. I love their almost chewy texture and rich flavor, and they're good cold or hot.
Soba Noodles with Macadamia and Sesame
- 6 ounces soba noodles
- 2 ounces macadamia nuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons soy or tamari sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 green onion, all white and part of green, minced or sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Cook soba noodles in boiling water according to package directions; 6 minutes is about enough. Watch them carefully - they WILL foam up fast!
Toast macadamia nuts in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes and set aside to cool.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and sesame seeds and saute about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, the vegetable oil, soy sauce and vinegar; whisk to combine.
Add the macadamia nuts, green onion and cilantro to the soba noodles.
Pour sesame sauce over noodles, mix thoroughly, and serve hot, room temperature, or cold. This will make about three or four servings. Two if you're serving me.