Corkscrew-shaped rotini are awesome sauce-trappers, one reason I love them. Here, the pasta is paired with asparagus — a vegetable that gives its flavor-all when stir-fried — beef and green peppercorns. Steak with black peppercorns is a traditional match, but green peppercorns have a fresher yet pungent flavor that goes beautifully with wok-cooked beef.
• 1 pound thin asparagus, ends trimmed
• Kosher salt
• 1/2 pound rotini pasta
• 5 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
• 1-1/2 pounds flank steak, any silverskin removed, sliced on the bias, 1/4 inch thick
• 5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
• 2 tbsp crushed green peppercorns
• 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup fresh chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
• 2 tbsp naturally brewed soy sauce
1. Fill a large bowl with water and add ice cubes. In a wok, cook the asparagus in abundant boiling salted water until tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice water with a skimmer, and when cold, drain. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch lengths, and set aside.
2. Add more ice cubes to the bowl, if necessary. Return the water in the wok to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, about 11 minutes. Transfer to the ice water and when cold, drain and set aside.
3. Drain and dry the wok and heat it over high heat. Add 2 tbsp of the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add half the beef and stir-fry until rare, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add 2 more tablespoons of the oil, swirl, stir-fry the remaining beef, and transfer to the plate.
4. Add the remaining tbsp oil to the wok, swirl, and when the oil is hot, add the garlic, peppercorns and scallions. Season with salt and pepper and stir-fry until soft, about 2 minutes.
5. Return the beef to the wok, add the asparagus, rotini and stock, and stir-fry until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir to blend. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve in four individual pasta dishes.
Want more one-pot meals? Find more recipes in Easy Meals: One-Pot Recipes for Every Season.
This recipe has been reprinted with the permission of Simply Ming One-Pot Meals, by Ming Tsai and Arthur Boehm, published by Kyle Books, 2010. Buy this book from our store: Simply Ming One-Pot Meals.