Cashew Noodles with Asparagus and Peppers

This is a great dish to make in the summer when you can barely stand to be in the kitchen. The only cooking required is that you boil water, and even the hottest kitchen can tolerate that.

Although the dressing has a lot of ingredients, once you have them on hand, it will be easy to put together. The dressing is also great on cold chicken, so consider doubling the recipe for future use. It will store well for at least one week, but should be used at room temperature.

Serves 6.

¾ pound spaghetti or rotini, cooked and cooled
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed, blanched, shocked, and cut into thirds
½ bunch scallions, coarsely chopped, green parts left long
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup roasted cashews
1 quarter-size slice fresh gingerroot, peeled if desired
2 garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon chili powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ to ⅔ cup strong brewed tea
2 tablespoons soy sauce
⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
½ cup canola oil

1. To make the salad: Place the spaghetti, asparagus, scallions, and peppers in a large mixing bowl.

2. To make the dressing: Place the cashews, gingerroot, garlic, sugar, pepper, mustard, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt in a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. While the machine is running, gradually add the tea, soy sauce, vinegar, and oils and blend well. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve immediately.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)