Slippery and savory, this unusual combination of ingredients — Italian pasta, Asian elements, store-bought cabbage/coleslaw mix and lime juice — works surprisingly well when you’re up for just a bit of cooking and a light meal on a warm summer night. Basil and cilantro are not the dominant flavors, even though they figure prominently in the title.
We recommend using the larger amount of linguine, so you’ll have leftovers; we’d add more fresh, crunchy vegetables to the mix for a nice lunch.
Serve at room temperature or chilled, with minted snap peas or garlicky sauteed snow peas.
4 servings, plus leftovers
Adapted from “Good Cheap Eats: Dinner in 30 Minutes (or Less!),” by Jessica Fisher (Harvard Common Press, 2015).
8 to 12 ounces dried whole-grain linguine
1/2 medium onion
1 large clove garlic
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
Small handful cilantro, plus a few leaves for optional garnish
Small handful basil, plus a few leaves for optional garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high. Add a generous pinch of salt and the pasta (the amount depends on whether you’d like leftovers); stir, and cook according to the package directions.
Cut the onion into very thin slices. Mince the garlic. Peel the ginger and mince or finely grate enough to yield 1 generous teaspoon.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. As soon as the oil is fragrant, stir in the onion, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper flakes; cook for 2 to 4 minutes, until the onion starts to soften. Add the cabbage or coleslaw mix, stirring to coat; cover and cook for 3 minutes or until it just starts to wilt.
Drain the linguine, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the linguine to its (now empty) pot, then transfer the contents of the skillet to the pot (off the heat). Add the soy sauce and toss to incorporate.
Use a microplane zester to grate about 2 teaspoons of lime zest over the pot. Cut the limes in half, then squeeze the juice in the pot; toss. If the mixture seems dry, add some reserved pasta cooking water.
Coarsely chop the cilantro, including some tender stems, if you like, and the basil. Add to the pot and toss gently to incorporate.
Divide among wide, shallow bowls, reserving some for leftovers; garnish with a few basil and/or cilantro leaves, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Per serving: 280 calories, 8 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 7 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar