Vegetarian Fideos

RECIPE #269, DAY #459

FIVE STARS

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ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Fideos–A Mexican Dry Soup” from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone*

TIMING: 30 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Easy and simple

TOOLS: A deep and wide saute pan

COOK TYPE: Stovetop and Oven (Broiling)

dsc_0765HEALTH: You could do better, sure. But for us, this is a quick, cheap, easy, and comforting weeknight meal. With a simple green salad, you wouldn’t be doing so bad (as long as you haven’t eaten pasta five times already this week).

EXPERIENCE: This is a family favorite, and I crave it in between times. The only reason the word “fideos” is even in my vocabulary is because when we were baby vegetarians and first married I got a copy of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and cooked about half our meals from it while learning how to cook. For whatever reason, we tried the “Fideos” and fell in love. There’s nothing fancy about this vegetarian version, but between the nutty, toasted pasta, the slurpy broth, the rich cream sauce, the bubbly cheese, and the mound of cilantro… Yyyuuuuummmmmmmmm….

Fifteen years later, I am watching Food Network when someone makes fideos. Turns out–and this is somehow not a surprise to me–that fideos is a Spanish dish normally  built around seafood. Now, I would love a nice pasta dish containing shrimp, mussels, and chorizo but, honestly, that’s just a whole other deal. This is the fideos we will be turning to time after time for a quick, basic weeknight meal.

Seafood fideos we can tackle another time, for another purpose.

NOTES: You do not need a heavy hand for the measurements in this recipe, by which I am referring to the sour cream and cheeses. If you want to be just a little generous, fine, but seriously, too much more would ruin it. Balance is just as important as richness.

***

  1. In a soup pan, bring 4 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock to a boil. Add a 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes, 2 ancho chilies, and 1 halved and de-seeded jalapeno (or 1 tablespoon canned jalapeno). Simmer lightly for about 15 minutes, partly covered. Puree very carefully until smooth, then strain. Set aside.
  2. Preheat your broiler on high.
  3. Heat a wide, deep saute pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons safflower or olive oil. Add 8 ounces broken capellini and carefully stir until it turns almond-brown.
  4. Add the strained broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 8 minutes, until much of the liquid is absorbed. Taste for salt and pepper and pasta doneness.
  5. Remove from heat and sprinkle evenly with 2/3 cup Monterrey Jack and 1/3 cup feta cheese. Broil until browned on top.
  6. Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup sour cream with enough cream or half-and-half to loosen. When fideos is browned, drizzle with the sour cream and sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped cilantro and serve right away.

Serve with a green salad and a table of your busy loved ones.

*Recipe has been changed from the original.

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