Make Ahead

Agrodolce Noodles With Summer Squash

August 12, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This make-ahead, tote-anywhere, vividly flavored noodle salad is tailor made for low-key summer evenings. Ready in 20 minutes, it pairs ribbons of raw summer squash with tender noodles and crunchy walnuts, all tossed in an agrodolce vinaigrette that enlivens every bite.

Agrodolce—meaning “sour” (agro) and “sweet” (dolce) in Italian—is a sticky sauce slash condiment common in Italian cuisine that’s traditionally made by reducing vinegar and sugar together on the stovetop until thickened. It’s used to add tangy brightness to all kinds of meaty braises and vegetable dishes, and as a pickling brine for vegetables and fruits. Here, I’ve applied the agrodolce treatment to a summer salad-ready vinaigrette that gets its sour-sweet punch from red wine vinegar, honey, and golden raisins, with fish sauce for added depth. In the spirit of summer, the vinaigrette is a cinch to pull together—no cooking or blending required—and adds so much verve to the shaved squash and noodles. (A word to the wise: Use this same vinaigrette to jazz up all kinds of vegetables and salads all year long.)

A few notes: Feel free to substitute zucchini for yellow squash—or do a mix of the two. When it comes to the noodles, I love the pairing of earthy soba with sweet squash, but varieties from udon to spaghetti all work nicely. The same easygoing approach applies to the nuts and greenery: Try pistachios in place of walnuts, and arugula or basil in place of the cilantro.

Test Kitchen Notes

It's the end of the long workday (or the start of an extra-long week) and we're hungry. Like, "can't-think-straight" hungry. Luckily, Food52 contributor EmilyC wants to do all the thinking for us. In Dinner's Ready, her twice-a-month column on weeknight wonders, Emily shares simple, flavor-packed recipes that'll have a good meal on the table in no time. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the agrodolce vinaigrette
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped (currants or regular raisins can be substituted)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes, or to taste
  • For the squash, walnuts & noodles
  • 2 medium yellow squash, about 1 1/4 pounds in total (zucchini can be substituted)
  • Kosher salt plus freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 to 10 ounces dried noodles, such as soba, udon, spaghetti, or angel hair pasta (noodles broken in half)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 small lemon, for juicing
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. In a bowl (one large enough to also hold the squash), whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. The flavors should be strong yet balanced. (Note: As the squash marinates in the vinaigrette, it’ll lose some of its water through osmosis, slightly diluting the vinaigrette.)
  3. Shave the squash lengthwise into paper-thin ribbons with a mandoline, serrated vegetable peeler, or chef’s knife. (It’s also fine to shave coins, half-moon shapes, whatever works!) Add to the bowl with the vinaigrette, tossing until they’re evenly coated. Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the walnuts, and season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Sizzle them in the oil until they’re evenly toasted, stirring frequently, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. To cook the noodles: Salt the boiling water if using pasta. If using soba or another noodle, check the packaging to determine if salt is needed. Cook the noodles according to the package directions and drain. (If using pasta, don’t rinse; if using soba or udon, rinse in cold water.) Return the noodles to the pot.
  6. Add the marinated squash (and all of the vinaigrette), walnuts (and any oil left in the skillet), and cilantro to the pot with the noodles. Add a few big squeezes of lemon juice for brightness and extra chile flakes for kick (if desired). Toss to evenly integrate. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. (Note: the noodle salad keeps well in the fridge for several days; before serving, adjust seasoning and add a little extra lemon juice to perk it up.)

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Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

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