Are you familiar with sopa seca de fideo?
It's a classic Mexican side dish, made much like Mexican or Spanish rice, but instead of browning rice and cooking it in broth, you brown thin pasta noodles (fideo) and cook them in broth.
"Sopa seca" means "dry soup" which describes the result of noodles absorbing all of the stock.
It is one of my family's favorite dishes of all time. Which is why when my friend Garrett popped by one day with a sopa seca de fideo that he had just made with our mutual friend Peg, a version that used tomatillo sauce instead of a tomatoes, and garnished it with goat cheese and chorizo, I couldn't wait to try it.
So good! Smooth and rich from the homemade stock, tangy from the tomatillos and goat cheese, and spicy from the chorizo niblits scattered over everything, this sopa seca I could eat every day.
Peg and Garrett created this recipe for Garrett's (and co-author Stephanie Stiavetti's) brilliant, cheese-tastic cookbook Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese. Melt is a cheese-lover's dream with creative takes on pasta and cheese pairings of all sorts, including this fabulous sopa seca de fideo with angel hair pasta and goat cheese.
You wouldn't normally think of fideo as a macaroni and cheese dish, but that is exactly Garrett and Stephanie's intention, to broaden our minds and tastes, appreciating the classics while taking on new culinary territory. Bravo!
Sopa Seca de Fideo With Tomatillos
If you want, you can substitute a cup of prepared tomatillo salsa verde for the sauce you make in step one. The original recipe calls for using Hoja Santa cheese, which is goat cheese wrapped in aromatic Hoja Santa leaves. It's a lovely cheese to use if you can find it, otherwise regular goat cheese will do.
- 3/4 pound tomatillos (about 6 medium sized), husks removed
- 1 to 2 serrano chiles
- 1/4 medium onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo, casing removed, crumbled
- 8 ounces capellini, or angel hair pasta, broken into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 avocado, seeded, peeled, diced
- Crema fresca or sour cream
Broil tomatillos, chiles, onion:
Place the tomatillos, serrano chiles, an quarter onion on a baking sheet lightly greased with olive oil. Broil for about 15 minutes until somewhat charred and blistered. Remove the stems from the serranos.
Make tomatillo sauce:
Working in batches if necessary, purée the chiles, tomatillos, onion, a clove of garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro in a blender, making sure not to fill the blender more than halfway. Once blended you should have about a cup of sauce.
Cook the chorizo:
Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook 3 to 4 minutes until cooked through and crispy. Use a wooden spoon to crumble up the chorizo as it cooks.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the chorizo to a paper-towel lined plate, keeping the fat and oil in the pan.
Brown the dry noodles:
Place the broken up dry pasta into the pan and increase the heat to medium high. Lightly brown the dry noodles in the chorizo oil. Remove the pasta from the pan and set aside.
Cook the tomatillo sauce:
Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil to the pan and heat on medium high heat. Add the tomatillo sauce and the salt. The sauce should bubble up from the heat of the pan. Cook for about a minute, allowing the sauce to reduce by about a quarter cup. Dragging your spoon through the sauce should leave a trail for a second or two.
Add the pasta back to the pan with the tomatillo sauce and cook it until it has absorbed the liquid.
Add stock, simmer and cook:
Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let cook undisturbed for about 15 minutes, or until the pasta is soft and the stock absorbed. The pasta will be past "al dente" but shouldn't be cooked to a mush.
Place in serving bowls and garnish with crumbled chorizo, goat cheese, avocado, cilantro, and crema fresca or sour cream.
Recipe adapted from and published with permission of authors from Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese.