Makes 4 servings
1 tbsp sesame oil
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp freshly grated gingerroot
1 cup orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Dark sesame oil (optional)
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 (8 to 10-oz) package soba noodles
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 cup baby spinach or roughly chopped large-leaf spinach
1 cup shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced, or 1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, drained, and chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
Place the sesame seeds in a small skillet and heat over medium heat until they get fragrant and toasty, 1 to 2 minutes, shaking the pan often. Pour them into a small bowl, and set aside.
Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the orange juice and soy sauce, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauce is thick and reduced by half and syrupy, about 20 minutes.
While the sauce reduces, boil the soba and peas. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and the soba noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas and boil until the peas are warmed through and the soba is cooked through, about 1 minute longer. Drain and set aside.
Stir the shiitakes into the orange sauce and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shiitakes are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the noodles and edamame into the sauce and add the spinach. Toss everything together with tongs and continue to cook, tossing the pasta occasionally, until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds and scallions.