Every once in a while the Internet collectively goes crazy for a recipe. Have you noticed this too? The same recipe pops up all over the place and everyone’s talking about it or trying it excitedly. Almost invariably it’s something simple with big results. A few years ago it was the New York Times chocolate chip cookies and a few years later Marcella Hazan’s butter and onion tomato sauce. Of course I tried both and loved them enough to put them into this blog in one way or another. And when Martha Stewart’s one pot pasta recipe started making the rounds I jumped on it.
Have you tried this recipe yet? Because if the answer is no give yourself a pat on the back. You have saved yourself and your dinner guests from a mediocre pasta dinner. It sounded like a good idea. It looks pretty in the photos. But when I used water to cook the ingredients, it mostly tasted like water. When I used stock, it mostly tasted like stock. The tomatoes, onions, basil, all the elements of a great light tomato sauce – they ended up tasting flat and watered down, like they’d lost something in the boiling.
Here’s the thing: the idea of a one pot noodle dish is pretty enticing. It was something I couldn’t just put aside. Some recipes are like that, the ones that seem to good and end up so blah. They get under my skin, not because they’re bad per se but because they’re just … lacking. This dish suffered from a poorly chosen foundational flavor, it was too bland and didn’t fit with the dish. The iea of swapping out the water led me to coconut milk and from there the recipe veered away from Italy and more towards Thailand. But the base idea – a noodle dish all made in one pot in about a half hour remained the same. Only now it’s worth making more than once.
One Pot Coconut Curry Noodles
Inspired by this recipe
Makes about 4 servings
1 can coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
1 cup water
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tsp thai red curry paste (I like the Thai Kitchen brand)
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
6 oz rice noodles
1/2 pound chicken, sliced into ¼ inch thick pieces (optional)
2-3 cups mixed vegetables, thinly sliced if thicker than 1/4 inch (I’ve enjoyed sweet and/or hot peppers, red and white onions, canned bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, baby spinach leaves, and cabbage)
2-3 sprigs each of basil, cilantro, and/or mint, stems removed, plus extra for serving
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 2-inch long piece of ginger, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch matchsticks
COMBINE coconut milk, water, fish sauce, curry paste, and salt in a small bowl and stir until curry paste is dissolved. Taste the sauce – it should be a bit more salty than you would want since it is going to flavor all the vegetables and protein. Set the liquids aside.
COMBINE rice noodles, chicken, vegetables, garlic, and ginger in a large pot. The noodles should be on the bottom (so they can absorb the liquid) and everything else should be in one big layer. Pour the liquids into the pot and place it on the stove over medium heat.
HEAT the pot until the liquids begin to boil, giving it a stir every few minutes to make sure nothing is sticking. Once it boils, turn the heat down so the pot remains at a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the noodles are cooked through and the liquid has thickened into something akin to gravy. After cooking there should be some liquid left in the pot that has thickened into more of a sauce than a soup.
SERVE immediately, with some extra herbs for garnish. You can also save any leftovers for up to a week in the fridge. The noodles get a little softer each time you reheat them so only heat up as much as you want to keep them from disintigrating.