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Fideos Rossejat Rápida

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Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    Discovering Fideos
  • by Luis Bollo from Fine Cooking
    Issue 127

This rich pasta dish is based on the Catalan tradition of cooking thin noodles—fideos—in stock with other ingredients until tender and infused with flavor. The dish is even more delicious thanks to a spoonful of homemade saffron aïoli, stirred in just before serving. The recipe makes more aïoli than you’ll need; for additional uses, see Saffron aïoli for dips, sandwiches, and more. When shopping for the noodles, keep in mind that fideos come in varying thicknesses and shapes, including coiled nests and shorter 1- to 2-inch pieces. For this recipe, look for bags of short fideos pieces with the thickness of spaghetti in the pasta section of well-stocked supermarkets, in Spanish and Hispanic markets, or online.

For the aïoli
  • 1/2 tsp. lightly packed saffron threads
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1-1/4 tsp. champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
For the sofrito
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced white onion
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup peeled, seeded, and diced plum tomato
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1/8 tsp. sweet smoked Spanish paprika
For the fideos
  • 3-1/2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • 7 oz. fideos
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (2 to 3 medium), cut into 1/2-inch pieces and patted dry
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 oz. Spanish chorizo, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as white grenache or chardonnay
  • 2-1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or lower-salt chicken broth
  • 12 mussels (6 oz.), scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/3 cup fresh or thawed frozen peeled fava beans (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley; plus whole leaves, for garnish
Tip:
If you can find only fideos nests, use your hands to break them into shorter pieces. If you can’t find either, use kitchen scissors to cut spaghetti into about 1-inch lengths.
Make the aïoli

Grind the saffron threads in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until powdery; you should have about 1/8 tsp.

Blend the egg, yolk, garlic, vinegar, mustard, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a blender or food processor until well combined, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the vegetable and olive oils until thick and emulsified, about 1 minute. Blend in a large pinch of the saffron (save the remainder for the fideos). Season to taste with salt. The aïoli will become more yellow in color as the saffron blooms. Stir before using.

Make the sofrito

In a 12-inch ovenproof paella pan or heavy-duty skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally and then smoothing the mixture back into an even layer in the pan, until the onions are golden and soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato and continue to cook, stirring and smoothing the mixture, until the vegetables are a shade darker, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil begins to separate and the mixture is yet another shade darker, about 2 minutes. Stir in the paprika and remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and transfer to a bowl to cool. Clean the pan.

Make the fideos

Heat the vegetable oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat to 325°F. While the oil heats, set a sieve over a medium pot.

Add the fideos to the oil and fry, gently stirring with a wooden spoon, just until they turn golden brown, about 1-1/2 minutes. Immediately pour the fideos and oil into the sieve; the fideos will continue to cook and become dark golden brown as they drain and cool. Set aside. Reserve the oil for frying more fideos or another use.

Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 500°F.

Heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in the cleaned paella pan or skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer raw on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tsp. olive oil and the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and light golden, about 30 seconds. Add the reserved sofrito and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 1 minute. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Add the chicken, any juice from the plate, and the wine, and cook, stirring and scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the fideos and then sprinkle the remaining saffron and 1/2 tsp. salt over them. Slowly pour in the stock and then spread the mixture into an even layer, if necessary; the stock should just barely cover the fideos. (It’s OK if some fideos tips stick out of the stock). Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook, undisturbed, until boiling in the center, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake until most of the stock is absorbed by the fideos, about 10 minutes.

Push the mussels into the fideos at even intervals. Bake until the mussels open, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the mussels to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

If the mussels have released a lot of liquid, put the pan over medium-low heat, stirring once or twice, until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Gently fold in the fava beans, if using, and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Gently fold in 2 Tbs. of the aïoli and the chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt, if necessary. Garnish with the mussels and parsley leaves, and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

The aïoli can be made up to 5 days ahead; refrigerate in an airtight container and bring to room temperature before using.

The sofrito can be made up to 3 days ahead; cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

You can fry the fideos up to 2 days ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 530; Fat (g): 31; Fat Calories (kcal): 280; Saturated Fat (g): 6; Protein (g): 27; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 18; Carbohydrates (g): 33; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): 660; Cholesterol (mg): 90; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Made this twice and loved it both times. The make ahead tips are helpful and recommended. Otherwise, a bit overwhelming to make unless you plan an afternoon of cooking.. Used cut spaghetti which worked fine. Plan to make it a third time next week! I am hooked.

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