We hosted two exchange students from China last summer, and noodles made them happier than anything else I cooked during their three-week stay. Here is the dish we came up with together for a dinner party.

Ingredients

  • Boneless beef top sirloin, ¾ lb (375 g), trimmed, halved lengthwise, and partially frozen
  • Gluten-free tamari, 5 tablespoons (3 fl oz/80 ml)
  • Sugar, teaspoons
  • Green onions, 4, minced
  • Asian sesame oil, teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Creamy old fashioned–style peanut butter, cup (4 oz/125 g)
  • Fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons minced
  • Balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons
  • Red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon
  • Gluten-free spaghetti, 10 oz (315 g) (I like Schar)
  • Large red bell pepper, 1, halved lengthwise and seeded, then halved crosswise and cut into very thin slices
  • Vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Fresh cilantro, ¼ cup chopped

Method

  1. Cut the beef across the grain into ¼-inch (6-mm) slices. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the tamari and ¾ teaspoon of the sugar and stir to dissolve. Mix in half of the green onions, 1½ teaspoons of the sesame oil, and a generous amount of black pepper. Add the beef and stir to coat. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine the peanut butter, ginger, vinegar, pepper flakes, remaining 3 tablespoons tamari, remaining green onions, 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Add ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) hot water and process until well blended to make a sauce.
  3. Add the spaghetti to a large pot of boiling salted water and stir well. Cook, stirring frequently, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, rinse briefly with cold water, and drain well. Place in a warmed bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil and stir to coat. Mix in the bell pepper and sauce to taste. Mix to coat the noodles, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. In a heavy large frying pan over high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Working in batches, sear the beef in a single layer, about 20 seconds on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and halve each piece lengthwise. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls, top with the beef, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

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