Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sopa Seca de Fideo

I learned to make this dish by watching Felipa, our family maid when I was little. I used to stick my fat little fingers in the plate where she kept the crunchy toasted noodles before boiling them in sauce. This "dry soup" can be served as a side dish, as opposed to a "Sopa aguada" (brothy soup) that is often served as a first course. It could also make a nice lite lunch with a leafy green salad. Use vegetable bouillon if you want to make this a vegetarian dish.

You'll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 package of capellini, 12 oz ("fideo", in Spanish)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bouillon cube (chicken, beef or vegetarian)
  • 1 canned chipotle chile
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • pinch of oregano
Garnishes (to taste):

1 avocado
grated queso fresco, or parmesan cheese
chopped cilantro
sour cream

First, start by pan frying the noodles in the olive oil until they are toasty, crunchy and golden brown. This will change the flavor of the noodles. It is easier to use a good non-stick pan (it uses less olive oil) to avoid the noodles from sticking. Turn them often and be careful...they can burn easily! If necessary fry the noodles in small batches.

Chop half of the onion and the clove or garlic. Add it to the noodles and continue to fry until the onion turns transparent. Make sure not to brown the onions.

Peel the tomatoes by scoring them with a knife, then dunk them in a pan of boiling water for about a minute. Save the water for later. Rinse the tomatoes under running water, the skin should be easy to peel now. Cut in half and seed by squeezing the tomatoes gently.
Soften the bouillon cube in a cup of the hot water where you boiled the tomatoes.

Blend the tomato pulp with the rest of the onion (quartered), the chipotle pepper, two tablespoons of tomato paste, oregano and the hot water with the softened bouillon cube. Add more of the warm water (about another cup) in order to have enough sauce to cover the noodles.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and simmer for about 10 - 20 minutes until the pasta is very soft, the sauce is thick and most of the liquid is absorbed.
Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the rest of the ingredients to taste. To look at more pictures of this recipe, visit my flickr account.

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