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A little bit of heat really can perk up a dish, but hot peppers run the gamut from mildly spicy to five-alarm fire. It’s not about the scoville index, it’s all about what you do with it!

In this dish serrano peppers get an herby nutty Asian treatment to make a tasty sauce for soba noodles and thus a fast but satisfying supper!

Soba With Green Chile Pesto

by Chris Morocco for bon appetit

7.23 bloomers hot peppersIngredients:

  • 4 ounces soba (Japanese-style noodles)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¾ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • serrano chiles, 2 halved and seeds removed, 1 thinly sliced
  • garlic clove, peeled
  • scallions, white and pale-green parts only, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped basil leaves, plus torn leaves for serving
  • 2 cups chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups trimmed watercress
  • Toasted sesame seeds (for serving)


  1. Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving ¼ cup soba cooking liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk miso, lime juice, and oil in a large bowl. Chop halved chiles, garlic, and a pinch of salt together on a cutting board, then use the side of chef’s knife to mash into a paste. Transfer to bowl with miso mixture and mix well. Add scallions, chopped basil, and cilantro and toss to combine; season pesto with salt.
  3. Add soba, watercress, and sliced chile to pesto and toss, adding reserved soba cooking liquid by the teaspoonfuls as needed, until nicely coated.
  4. Serve noodles topped with torn basil and sesame seeds. Makes 4 servings.

If you can’t find serranos, cayenne or jalapeno peppers would be a good substitute (the jalapenos are a little milder). If they’re not hot enough for you, try these spicy pepper dishes to light your fire!

Lao Tomato Dip

Sweet and Spicy Antipasto Salad

Spicy Confit Chiles

Chicken Wings with Shishito Peppers and Herbs

Habanero Infused Honey