Friday, December 28, 2012

Chorizo and Mushroom Fideua

Last year's post: Tiny Pizzas

Fideua (FID-u-wah) is a pasta dish from Valencia, Spain that's somewhat similar to paella.  It typically contains seafood, paprika, tomatoes, onions, and peppers although this version contains Spanish chorizo and mushrooms in place of the seafood.  If you like paella and pasta, you'll like this dish.

It's very easy to make - you just keep throwing ingredients into a single pan and cooking until everything is done.  The pasta cooks in the broth mixture rather than separately, which infuses it with flavor.

By the end of the baking time all the liquid has been absorbed into the pasta but the dish is not at all dry.

A couple of thoughts about the ingredients - the recipe doesn't specify the type of paprika to use, so I use sweet paprika.  If you prefer, you could substitute half of the sweet with either half-sharp or smoked paprika.  And about chorizo - I've mentioned it before but it bears repeating, Spanish chorizo is not the same as Mexican chorizo.  Spanish chorizo is a dry, cured meat that looks a lot like pepperoni.

You can find it in most markets these days.  It comes in regular and hot (caliente) versions.  We prefer the hot (it's not really all that hot) which is why I use regular paprika instead of half-sharp.  It has a paper covering that needs to be removed before slicing.  I mention that specifically because the paper is pretty much the same color as the chorizo so it's not all that obvious until you start slicing, at which point it's a bigger hassle to remove from each little piece.

One last thought - I'm still slightly nervous about any recipe which you first cook on the stovetop, then put the pan in the oven to finish cooking ever since I took a skillet out of a 450d oven, turned away to do something else, then turned back and automatically grabbed the metal handle with my bare hand.  One quick trip to the emergency room later I had a rather spectacular bandage covering four fingers and my palm.  (The Lawyer drove me to the hospital because I was pretty convinced my hand was going to need some sort of dramatic procedure. Turns out it was just antiseptic ointment and lots of bandages.) Be sure to keep those oven mitts on!

* * click here for a printable recipe version * *

Chorizo and Mushroom Fideua
Serves 4 to 6

Note: because the angel hair pasta is cooked in the pan rather than boiled in water, it takes longer than stated on the package.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
½ lb mushrooms, quartered
2 teaspoons paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 large green bell pepper, diced
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
5 ounces Spanish chorizo, paper casing removed
¾ lb angel hair pasta
Minced fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400d. Cut the Spanish chorizo lengthwise, then crosswise into half-moon slices. Heat the olive oil in a heavy deep paella pan or oven-proof sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté 4 minutes. Add paprika and cayenne and stir just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and green peppers and sauté 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, wine and chorizo. Bring mixture to a simmer. Break pasta in half and add to pan. Cook until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Set pan in oven and bake until all liquid is absorbed and pasta is crusty, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

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