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Fideos a la cazuela is a noodle casserole that incorporates thin noodles with meat in a rich tomato based reduction sauce. For our recipe, we’re using Spanish chorizo—for oodles of meaty flavor—and tender shrimp. First, we brown the chorizo. Then we sauté onions and garlic in the chorizo oil and create a highly aromatic reduction sauce made with fresh tomatoes, white wine and spicy pequin chile peppers. Finally, we cook broken noodle pieces directly in the sauce to soak up all that flavor, adding the shrimp for the last few minutes so they’re tender, juicy, and oh so tasty!
Traditionally, this casserole would be cooked in a terracotta dish called a cazuela that can be used in virtually any cooking environment (oven, grill, stovetop, microwave). For our recipe, we’re using a large skillet because it’s more accessible. If you have a cazuela, let us know how this recipe came out using yours!
Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
In a bowl, prepare ice water.
Using a sharp knife, score the bottom of each tomato with an X. Using a slotted spoon or ladle, submerge one tomato, bottom side up, in the boiling water for 15 seconds, or until the skin begins to peel back from the incision mark.
Transfer the tomato into ice water until cooled, then allow to drain. Repeat process for each tomato.
Using a paring knife, begin peeling back the skin from the scored lines. The skin should slip right off.
Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally. Use your fingers or a spoon to scoop out seeds over a bowl. Discard seeds.
Peel and chop the onion.
Peel and mince the garlic.
Use your hands to break the noodles into ½ inch pieces.
Use a mortar and pestle to grind the saffron threads and pequin chili peppers into a powder.
Set all aside for later.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add chorizo and cook until browned (about 4 – 5 minutes), using a spatula to break up chunks while stirring. Cook until browned (about 4 – 5 minutes). Transfer browned chorizo into a heatproof bowl (reserving chorizo oil in skillet) and set bowl aside.
Add onions into the skillet with chorizo oil. Sauté until soft and transparent (about 5 – 7 minutes). Add garlic and sauté until aromatic (about 1 minute).
Stir in ½ cup white wine, scraping any residue off the sides and bottom of the pan and stirring into the wine. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and then add the tomatoes. Continue cooking over medium-high for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes have reduced and thickened into a sauce.
Transfer the chorizo back into the pan, including any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Bring all to a boil and then stir in the noodles. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes and then reduce heat to medium or medium-low. Boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure noodles cook evenly in the liquid.
Stir in the shrimp and cook for 3 – 5 minutes more (or until shrimp are opaque pink and noodles are tender).
Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and allow to cool for 5 – 10 minutes. Ladle fideos into serving dishes.
Optionally, garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve warm with aioli sauce.