Spicy Sichuan Noodles

Serves 4.

Note: Sichuan peppercorns are available at Penzeys Spices in the Twin Cities. From “Cooking at Home With Bridget & Julia,” by Bridget Lancaster and Julia Collin Davison and the editors of America’s Test Kitchen.

• 8 oz. ground pork

• 3 tbsp. soy sauce, divided

• 2 tbsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

• White pepper

• 1/4 c. peanut butter or Asian sesame paste

• 2 tbsp. oyster sauce

• 1 tbsp. rice vinegar

• 1 1/4 c. chicken broth

• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 6 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger

• 3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

• 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

• 12 oz. dried Chinese noodles or dried linguine

• 4 oz. (2 c.) bean sprouts, optional

• 3 green onions, sliced thin

• 1 tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground, optional

Directions

Combine pork, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, rice wine and pinch of white pepper in small bowl; stir well and set aside.

Whisk peanut butter, oyster sauce, vinegar, pinch of white pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce together in medium bowl. Whisk in broth and set aside.

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot.

Meanwhile, heat 12-inch skillet over high heat, add vegetable oil and swirl to coat. Add pork mixture and cook, breaking into small pieces with wooden spoon, until well browned, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, ginger and pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add peanut butter mixture and bring to boil, whisking to combine, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have blended, abut 3 minutes. Stir in sesame oil.

While sauce simmers, add noodles to boiling water and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain noodles and divide evenly among bowls. Ladle sauce over noodles and sprinkle with bean sprouts, green onions and peppercorns. Serve immediately.