It is, however, difficult to find an authentic version of this dish. It’s even harder to find one like my grandma used to make. She was a short, spitfire Mexican woman who rarely cracked a smile. Though she and I rarely got along, cooking her dishes brings back warm, comforting memories. So, I often try to mimic them.
What is fideo, you may ask? It’s a thin Mexican pasta; similar to angel hair or vermicelli, but in shorter lengths. If you are unable to find it, pick up a package of one of the latter pastas and break it into smaller pieces. Make them about 4 to 5 inches in length.
After donning my Sherlock Holmes hat once again, I searched high and low for a recipe similar to the one I remember. The closest was iSaveAtoZ, a simple living lifestyle website. I changed it to match my grandmother’s simpler recipe and omitted the meat. Though there was no meat in hers, it doesn’t mean you can’t add it.
I like my finished fideo with a little liquid left in the pan (technically, it’s classified as a sopa seca – “dry soup”); unlike a regular pasta dish. It should have a mild, buttery taste and drive your taste buds crazy.
My ingredients are:
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
3 Tablespoons of butter
1 small onion
4 cloves of garlic (In my world there’s no “too much garlic.” Add as much or as little as you wish.)
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes, including the juice
4 cups of homemade chicken broth, or 2 cups of chicken bouillon & water plus 2 cups of plain water (See note below)
6oz of fideo, or cut up pasta (I made enough for three of us: 2oz each.)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil and butter, on medium high, in a large frying pan. Sauté the onions and garlic for about a minute. Watch them closely; make sure the garlic does *not* burn. Reduce the heat to medium and add all the pasta. Fry until the noodles are golden brown. It doesn’t take very long.
Add the whole can of diced tomatoes and 4 cups of chicken broth. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Voila! It’s done.
Note for chicken broth: If dissolving bouillon cubes in water only use two cups, due to the salt content, and add an additional 2 cups of plain water. Homemade chicken broth is the best, and the healthiest to use, due to cooking the bones of the chicken.
Here is a picture of the fideo in the pan as it cooks:
Silhouette courtesy of The Sherlock Holmes Museum, 221b Baker Street, London, England. Go visit their website.