Ever wondered if there was anything else you could make with that big paella pan you bought and used only that one time? Enter fideos, the Spanish cousin of paella that substitutes broken pieces of thin pasta for rice. It's the original one-pan pasta.
Check your local farmers' market for green almonds (the predecessor of the roasted variety in your pantry), morel mushrooms and jumbo white asparagus (which are comically big). You can sub out the vegetables based on preference or season (we're going to be throwing in zucchini and eggplant in the summer). And you can quickly make this recipe vegetarian by subbing vegetable stock for the chicken and lobster stocks. Any which way you attack this dish, we know it's going to be a new favorite.
To learn more, read "In the Nood."
Spring Vegetable Fideos
Recipe adapted from Ken Oringer, Toro, New York, NY
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes, plus cooling time
For the Pickled Green Almonds:
½ cup white distilled vinegar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ cup green almonds, thinly sliced
For the Morel Ragù:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
8 ounces morel mushrooms, cleaned and halved
2 tablespoons chicken stock
Kosher salt, to taste
For the Fideos:
Kosher salt, to taste
4 jumbo white asparagus, tough stems trimmed
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 garlic clove, minced
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 pound angel-hair pasta, broken into 3-inch pieces
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups lobster or seafood stock
1 small fennel bulb, cut into ¼-inch wedges, fronds reserved for garnish
8 scallions, whites and greens thinly sliced and separated by color, divided
1 head Tardivo radicchio, cut into 1-inch pieces
Thinly sliced radishes, for garnish
Lemon zest, for garnish
Aioli or mayonnaise, for garnish
1. Make the pickled green almonds: In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar and salt have dissolved, 1 minute. Place the green almonds in a heatproof bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over top, then let cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, make the morel ragù: In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the morels and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer until the liquid is nearly evaporated, 2 minutes more. Season with salt then set aside.
3. Make the fideos: Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the white asparagus just until tender, 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and rinse with cold water until cooled. Slice the asparagus ¼ inch thick and set aside.
4. In a 15-inch paella pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions, and sweat until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and smoked paprika, and cook until the tomato paste is caramelized and the mixture is fragrant, 1 minute.
5. Add the pasta to the pan and carefully stir to toast the dry noodles, coating in the onion mixture, 1 minute. Add the stocks and fennel, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has softened 4 to 5 minutes.
6. Add the morel ragù, blanched asparagus and sliced scallion whites, and stir to incorporate. Season with salt. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the pasta is tender and has formed a crust on the bottom of the pan, another 4 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed.
7. Drain the green almonds and scatter them over the fideos, along with the Tardivo radicchio. Garnish with fennel fronds, sliced scallion greens, radishes, lemon zest and aioli. Drizzle with olive oil, then serve.
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