BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Play Second Fideo to None

12 Comments

Winter in California looks very different from the winters of my childhood. Instead of the white wonderland I’d peer out at from my bedroom window, blankets of snow magically transforming the landscape into a brave new world, the scenery out here remains largely unchanged. Colder but not freezing, darker but not unshakably gloomy, the days of this season proceed much like those that came before, and will no doubt come once again. The key difference, however, is the rain.

You’re not allowed to complain about any amount of precipitation, each minuscule drop of moisture deemed essential to refilling the depleted reservoirs. Even when the winds blow and the temperatures drop, turning a steady shower into a clammy midday swim through the city streets, it’s all good, or so we say through clenched teeth. Thank goodness for the rain, bring on more rain, let it continue to rain all month, but for the love of a higher power, please let me find a way to stay dry!

As a hapless pedestrian, this request is as impossible as it is foolish to put to words. There’s no way to avoid a drenching soak, even while sprinting away from the BART at top speed, umbrella unfurled overhead. By the time I make it to the shelter of my warm little shack, wet and tired as a rung out rag, it’s hard to muster the same veneer of enthusiasm for this kind of weather. This is a job for comfort food.

Referred to by some as “Mexican Spaghetti,” fideo is the simple sort of pasta dish that has nearly universal appeal thanks to both its flavor and ease of preparation. What’s not to love about toasted noodles infused with a pinch of cumin and a hint of rich tomatoes? Typically served dry as a side dish or flooded with broth as a soup, my preference falls somewhere in between; a thick stew of vegetables and pasta that could be eaten either with a spoon or a fork, depending on how long the noodles are cooked. Taking that concept just one step further, I realized I had a genuine risotto on my hands- Just without the rice.

Silky strands of broken spaghetti boast a uniquely nutty taste thanks to a quick saute before cooking, setting this dish apart from your average heap of pale pasta. Roasted peppers mingle amongst the short strands, harmonizing with the essences of smoked paprika and cumin to render a wholly warming, revitalizing bowl full of edible comfort. It’s a hair fancier than the original inspiration, but not much more fuss, and a whole lot more satisfying as far as I’m concerned.

Alright, bring on the rain! As long as I can come home to a revitalizing bowlful of fideo risotto, it’s really not such a bad deal.

Fideo Risotto

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
2 Cups (1/2 Pound) Broken or Cut Spaghetti
1/2 Large Red Onion, Diced
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Roma Tomatoes, Diced
1 Poblano Pepper, Roasted, Seeded, and Diced
1 Red or Orange Bell Pepper, Roasted, Seeded, and Diced
3 Cups Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 – 2 Tablespoon Tequila (Optional)
3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1 1/2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 Cup Corn Kernels, Canned and Drained or Frozen and Thawed
1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
Salt and Pepper, to Taste
1/4 Cup Toasted Pepitas (Optional)

Place half of the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Once shimmering, add in the pasta and stir to coat. Saute the noodles, stirring frequently, until toasted and golden brown all over; 5 – 8 minutes. Remove the noodles from the pot and set aside.

Return the pot to the stove and add in the remaining oil. Cook the onions and garlic together until softened and aromatic. Introduce the tomatoes and both roasted peppers next, stirring periodically, and continuing to cook until the onion are lightly golden. Add the vegetable broth, tequila (if using), lime juice, nutritional yeast, paprika, and cumin.

Bring the liquid up to a boil before returning the toasted noodles to the pot. Stir well to incorporate, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer gently until the pasta is tender and the liquid mostly absorbed; 9 – 11 minutes. Mix in the corn and fresh cilantro last right after taking the pot off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and top individual servings with a tablespoon or so of pepitas, if desired.

Serves 3 – 4 as a Main Dish

Printable Recipe

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

12 thoughts on “Play Second Fideo to None

  1. I just want you to know how much I enjoy your blog and your recipes … really, truly not a stinker in the bunch! This looks awesome and is going right on our weekend menu. Thank you for sharing your vegan-joy with us! (And, for teaching me about aquafaba … which has become my go-to egg substitute thanks to you!) :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so touched by your comment! Seriously, I can’t tell you how much that means to me. After nearly 10 years (!) of this blogging business, it’s easy to become jaded and wonder if it really matters in the first place… But I’ll keep on coming back as long as I have readers like you out there. :) Thank you for following along, and actually trying out some of my crazy ideas, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not overly familiar with fideo, but just looking at the flavours, I’m sure it would be something I’d just love to make, winter weather or no winter weather!

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  3. Such a lovely post and and a unique recipe that I’d like to try with soybean spaghetti. Thanks!

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  4. This looks so festive and bright! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I love the idea of toasting the spaghetti first – I did that with rice recently and it does so much to the end flavor. It’s my first time here, but wanted to tell you your writing is beautifully descriptive. Cheers to 2016!

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  6. West coast winters are so much milder, yet possibly demand even more carb comfort, right?!?!
    I tried out a spaghetti squash fideos over the holidays which I really liked, but this seems like it might be crunchier (always a plus).

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  7. Looks delicious.Here in central Israel we have a very mild winter,I actually like a bit colder one….

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  8. It’s like a sauna here in Sydney and that winter wonderland you describe sounds divine. As does this dish, a new concept to me.

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  9. I get you’re wet
    But even yet
    The rain is blessed
    The soil so dry
    And even I
    From so very far away
    Rejoice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My dear Narf, you are an utter gem. I believe this is only the second time I’ve received a comment in poem-form and it absolutely brightened up the grey skies overhead. I wish I could give you a big, squishy hug right about now (and for your previous comment as well! Thank you for the show of solidarity against all the “clean eating” madness!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • (Bollocks to clean eating “YAY!” to rain ;) ) Just had a sky-full of rain ourselves. I was thinking that our little 4 acres on the river was going to just dry up and blow away this year. I am as happy as a clam :)

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