Many of you are already aware of my love for pasta and have an inkling of how much I adore Mexican food, and won’t at all be surprised at how excited I am about this recipe. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found it…Mexican pasta?? Really? I’m in!! And boy howdy, am I ever in. This is just phenomenal stuff. But, really, how could it not be? Chorizo, shrimp, little fideo noodles, and tomatoes all simmered together to create some incredibly delicious flavors. It’s fun food that tastes sublime and is ever so easy to throw together.
The origins of most fideos dishes are Spanish, and this one resembles a paella-like dish made with mussels and shrimp and baked in a cazuela. Although this is a knock-off, short-cut version, it definitely has enough personality to demand its own respect. It has mine, I’ll tell you.
And in case you’re unfamiliar, fideos are short little pasta noodles about 2 inches long. Sometimes they come coiled in little nests, but for this recipe, the little short ones work best. If you can’t find them, you can just break some thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta into 2-inch pieces.
As for the chorizo, you can use your favorite brand, but I was able to find Aidell’s chicken chorizo at Costco. Of course, I had to buy enough to fill my freezer and I’m pretty sure it’s enough to last until I’m about 70, but I’m thinking it’s going to be well worth it. As long as I keep some shrimp in there too, I’m set to make this as often as I want. And that, I’m thinking, is going to be pretty often. (Since I began making this recipe, I've learned to make my own chorizo, which I use in this now. It's pretty killer. Here’s the recipe…
Mexican Fideos with Shrimp and Chorizo
Recipe courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle
The word fideos refers to a short spaghetti-like noodle that's used often in Spanish cooking. If you can't find them in the store, simply break up thin spaghetti into 2-inch lengths. And if you can’t get your hands on Cotija cheese, you can easily substitute feta cheese.
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces fideos or spaghettini broken into 2-inch lengths
8 ounces Mexican-style chorizo (here's my recipe for homemade)
1/2 large onion, diced small (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
1 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or good quality fish stock)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Chopped fresh cilantro
Cotija cheese, for garnish
Instructions: Warm the olive oil in a shallow stockpot over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the fideos or broken spaghettini to the pot, and cook, stirring frequently, until toasted and golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.
Remove the chorizo from the casing and break it up or crumble into the pot. Continue to break it into crumbles as you stir. Cook for about 2-3 minutes; add the onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and cumin, if using.
Add the pasta back to the pot; stir in the chopped tomatoes and 2 cups of the broth. Turn heat to high and boil, stirring occasionally, until the broth has been mostly absorbed.
Season the shrimp, and stir it into the pot with the final cup of broth; reduce heat and simmer until the shrimp is cooked through and there is barely any liquid left, about 10-12 minutes. Season to taste.
Spoon into bowls and garnish with crumbled cotija cheese and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.
There have been a few questions and comments about the chorizo in this recipe, which I hope I can help clear up. Firstly, there really is a big difference between Spanish and Mexican chorizo. The Spanish chorizo is more of a cured meat that can be sliced and eaten as is. It is most often served cold with cheeses and tapas. Mexican chorizo, on the other hand is more of a spicy sausage that is ususally removed from its casing, crumbled and cooked into dishes such as this one. I did note in the ingredients list that this recipe calls for a Mexican-styled chorizo, and I used Aidells' chicken chorizo which was really good in this.
Hope that clears up the confusion, but I will be happy to answer any other questions you might have in the comments section. Enjoy!