This beloved Mexican gluten free pasta dish, in which dried pasta is toasted to enhance its flavor and durability, takes inspiration from the “noodle paella” dishes of Spain, fideus and fideuà. Similar to making a risotto, the pasta is stirred constantly to encourage even cooking and discourage scorching as it simmers through several additions of hot broth. It also takes around the same amount of time to cook—about 25 minutes from when the pasta meets its first ladleful of broth. Trust us; it’s worth the effort and then some!
Gluten-Free Quinoa Fideo Pasta
Though this dish is traditionally made with angel hair pasta, quinoa spaghetti goes above and beyond as a stand-in; the flavor of the toasted quinoa noodle perfectly complements the Mexican spices and the rich chile-tomato broth. Garnished with Cotija or goat's-milk feta cheese, green onion, a healthy squeeze of lime juice, and cilantro, it’s truly a party on a plate. If you have leftovers (as if), scroll for a spectacular breakfast pasta dish that you can recreate with any pasta leftovers.
- 2 dried guajillo chiles stemmed and deseeded
- 2 cups chopped Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes and their juices
- 2 8-ounce boxes quinoa spaghetti (preferably Andean Dream)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 1 celery stalk finely diced
- 4 cups good-quality chicken stock
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
- Kosher salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups crumbled Cotija or goat’s-milk feta cheese for garnish
- 1⁄2 bunch cilantro stemmed and coarsely chopped, for garnish
- 1 bunch green onions white and green parts, thinly sliced, for garnish
- 3 limes cut into wedges, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the guajillo chiles in a small bowl with 1 cup boiling water and cover for 30 minutes to soften the chiles. Combine the chiles, their soaking water, and the fire-roasted tomatoes with their juices in a blender and puree until smooth.
Place the contents of one box of spaghetti on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle with 1 1⁄2 teaspoons of olive oil, tossing well to coat. Toast in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once after 5 minutes, until the pasta is several shades darker, but not deep brown. Repeat with the second box of spaghetti. When cool, break the pasta into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Reserve.
In a heavy 5-quart saucepan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery, stirring briefly, and then lower the heat to medium-low or low and cook the vegetables slowly, stirring occasionally, until translucent and softened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
In a medium pot, combine the chile-tomato mixture, the chicken stock, and 4 cups of water. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then keep warm over a low heat.
Add to the pan with the onion and celery the garlic, oregano, cumin, paprika, allspice, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa spaghetti and cover with 6 cups of the hot chile-tomato broth. Add a few generous pinches of salt. Return to a boil over high heat and stir frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Add half of the remaining broth to the pasta pan, stirring constantly, until it is almost completely absorbed. Add the last of the broth, continuing to simmer and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is juicy and cloaked with creamy sauce. Season to taste with salt and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving, accompanied by small bowls of Cotija, cilantro, green onions, and lime wedges.
FIDEO BREAKFAST CAKE
Mounds of leftover fideo fried in a cast-iron skillet, toad-in-the-hole-style with a sunny-side up egg cooked in the center, make a fantastic breakfast.
With wet hands shape 3⁄4 cup cold Quinoa Fideo (page 19) into a ball and flatten it slightly. Heat a cast-iron skillet for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and quickly lay the cake down in the pan, pressing with a spatula to flatten it a little more. Let the cake cook until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the cake over and use the handle end of a wooden spoon to nudge a round hole into the cake, approximately 2 1⁄2 inches in diameter. Crack a room-temperature egg into a coffee cup and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Carefully pour the egg into the center of the fideo cake. Cover the pan with a lid and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook until the white of the egg is just set and the yolk remains runny, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Photography Maren Caruso