I hosted this month’s Gourmet Dinner Club (GDC) and selected western Mediterranean as the theme. Even though there are still a few days left of summer, I was starting to think of fall and wanted to make a tasty baked pasta dish called Fideua (from the Catalan/Valencian word for “noodle”) that I hadn’t made in years; a dish that hails from the Valencia region of Spain.
This recipe has a lot of good flavors – peppers, sausage, paprika – that all work very well together. Instead of boiling the pasta ahead of time, you add the uncooked pasta to the pan before it goes into the oven. You use a very thin pasta (angel hair) so it cooks fairly quickly. Plus since it is soaking in the broth it picks up all of the good flavors as it cooks. The top layer gets a bit crusty while the rest stays nice and moist.
Although it’s not quite the same (no saffron, for instance), think of this as a paella-type dish that uses pasta instead of rice. More traditional Fideua is usually made with shellfish rather than sausage. This recipe works well with hot sausage (hot Spanish Chorizo or hot Italian sausage) or mild Italian sausage – depending on who you are cooking for. I’ve even made it with chicken sausage.
I think this batch was a hit – Jackie R told me I gave her too large a serving and then she cleaned her plate! And, one of the other things I like is that you make it all in one pan – something unusual for a pasta dish.
A tip for neatly breaking up pasta (thanks to Jennifer R) – wrap your pasta in a kitchen towel leaving space at both ends to put your hands. Carefully break the past over the side of your kitchen counter. Once broken, open the towel over the pot of water. All the pasta should go into the pot and not on your kitchen counter like it used for me before I learned this tip.
|Sausage and Mushroom Fideua|| || |
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- ¾ pound mushrooms, sliced
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- 3 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 pound sausage (such as Spanish chorizo or hot or mild Italian sausage, cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
- ¾ pound angel hair pasta
- Grated cheese (such as Pecorino Romano)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Heat olive oil in heavy deep paella pan skillet (or 12”-5 quart frying pan that is oven proof) over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and garlic and cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes.
- Add mushrooms and sauté 4 minutes.
- Add paprika and cayenne and stir just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes and green pepper and sauté 2 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, wine and sausage..
- Bring mixture to simmer.
- Break pasta in half and add to pan.
- Cook until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
- Place pan in oven and bake until all liquid is absorbed and pasta is crusty, about 25 minutes.
- Serve with grated cheese.
* A tip for neatly breaking up pasta (thanks to Jennifer R) - wrap your pasta in a kitchen towel leaving space at both ends to put your hands. Carefully break the past over the side of your kitchen counter. Once broken, open the towel over the pot of water. All the pasta should go into the pot and not on your kitchen counter like it used for me before I learned this tip.