Monday, March 15, 2010

Fideo--Mexican Spaghetti?

Kind of. When I'd ask my mom for spaghetti growing up, this is what I got.

I'm pretty sure I went through half my life eating tons of Mexican dishes without knowing they were distinctly Mexican. Didn't your mom use leftover corned beef to make taquitos? No? Hm. That's weird.

(You should try that, by the way. If there's corned beef leftover in this house on Wednesday, I'll tell you how.)

No matter, though. Let's talk about fideo. It simply means "pasta" in Spanish, and in Mexico it specifically refers to thin spaghetti-like pasta that's toasted and cooked in a very light and fragrant tomato sauce. According to my mother, there is only one way to make Fideo, and that's the right way.

So she probably wouldn't approve that I used chicken stock in place of chicken bouillon cubes in this recipe... I don't know. Those things kind of weird me out so I avoid them when I can. People in Mexico do like their bouillon cubes, though.

If you make this dish, you're in for some home-y (not homie) Mexican goodness. It's a simple meal, but it hits the spot every time.

serves 4
My mom would want you to know that adding shredded chicken to this dish makes it Fideo con Pollo, not Fideo... just in case you run into her and she tells you you did it wrong.

• 12 ounces fideo cortado (short fideo), fideo or vermicelli pasta
• 1 can (14 ounces) fire roasted chopped tomatoes
• 1-2 chopped chipotles en adobo, minced (optional)
• 1 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• salt and pepper
• Queso Fresco for serving (suitable substitutes include feta or parmesan)
• 2 cups cooked shredded chicken or smoked turkey (optional)

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the noodles and onions, stirring constantly. If using regular fideo or vermicelli pasta, break the noodles up into short (3 inch) peices with a wooden spoon. Continue to fry noodles until most are golden brown in color. (It's okay--some will be dark brown.) Add the garlic.

Add the tomatoes, chipotle, chicken stock, cumin and oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and noodles are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in chicken or turkey, if using, and continue to cook until heated through.

Serve with crumbed or grated queso fresco.


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