Recently I’ve become addicted to anything orange, particularly sweet potatoes, butternut squash and pumpkin. A few weeks ago, my husband and I had an amazing vegetarian sushi roll at a restaurant near us in Red Bank that featured sweet potato tempura and a delectable dipping sauce. The combination of the sweet root vegetable with the salty spiced asian flavors, particularly the wasabi, soy and ginger, was incredible. We loved it so much, we’ve gone back to order it several times since.
That roll was the inspiration for this dish. Those flavors! I needed to re-create them, but in a different way. And, since noodles happen to be way up there on my list of favorite things to eat, I present to you this unique autumnal noodle bowl.
It’s begins with a simple roasted butternut squash. I can imagine that some people might not feel comfortable cutting open a fresh butternut squash because of it’s tough exterior, but I’ve come up with a solution. The key is to microwave it briefly, which makes it easier to cut into (still, a sharp sturdy knife is a must). The quick zap also cuts down on the roasting time a bit, which for me is a huge plus, since I’m always in a rush.
Once the squash is roasted, the flesh becomes soft enough to scoop out with a spoon and mash into a puree. It’s here where you add in the soy sauce, ginger and wasabi paste. The puree is so good, you can serve it just like this, as a side dish.
I used buckwheat soba noodles for this recipe, but I would imagine any type of asian noodle would work here. I find that letting the noodles cool down before mixing them with the warm butternut squash puree is better, because the noodles tend to break down less. Make sure to rinse the noodles with cold water after draining. This dish can be served warm, room temperature or cold.
I seriously can’t think of a better way to satisfy a craving for something sweet yet savory, than to sit down to a bowl of these delicious noodles!
To make the Butternut Squash Puree:
- Preheat oven to 450 ºF.
- Place the squash on a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Then flip over and microwave another 2 minutes on the other side. (This should make cutting the squash much easier).
- With a sharp knife and sturdy hand, cut the squash lengthwise and place flesh side down onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.
- Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 35-45 minutes until very fork tender. *cooking times may vary depending on size of squash
- Allow the squash to cool slightly before handling.
- Scoop out the seeds and discard.
- Continue to scoop out the flesh into a bowl, then mash with a fork until it becomes a pureed consistency.
- 8 oz. package soba noodles *reserve a few teaspoons of the noodle water
- 1½ cups butternut squash puree (see above instructions)
- 2 scallions (white and green parts) sliced
- ½ tsp freshly grated ginger
- 3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup sesame seed oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tsp wasabi powder (mixed with 1½ tsp hot water to form a paste)
- 1 tsp black sesame seeds
- fresh lime wedges (optional)
- Cook noodles according to package instructions, set aside and let cool.
- In meantime, in a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, ginger, sesame seed oil and set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, make the wasabi paste and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the squash puree with the soy sauce mixture and the wasabi paste until well combined. (if the puree seems very thick, you can add a tablespoon or two of the hot noodle water to thin it out)
- Add the noodles to the bowl and toss together with the puree until all the noodles are coated.
- Top the dish with scallions and sesame seeds (and a squirt of lime juice-optional).