Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Paprika and Brandy Fideos

This recipe was inspired by Food and Wine's Lobster with Fideos, but lobster was just not happening. So, I put together a vegetable broth using corn, peas, a veritable ton of garlic, onions, edamame, and pine nuts. I have to say, it was delicious, ameliorated by the cat's total fascination by my breaking of vermicelli noodles for the dish.

I really have to say, I have never cooked with brandy before (it doesn't exactly fit my budget), but we had some left over, so what the hey. But paprika and brandy was a combination that completely blew my mind how well they complimented each other. It gave the dish an entirely new dimension. I've made fideos before with white wine and saffron in tomato sauce, and that too was delicious, but this particular dish was just so unexpected and unlike any I had ever cooked. Needless to say, I was very pleased with the outcome.

Whoever had the idea of making pasta in tomato sauce and wine/brandy instead of water was a total genius.

I let the sauce simmer for a total of one hour, and the flavors really blended together nicely. For future attempts, I strongly recommend letting it go for as long as humanly possible.

And now, the recipe:

  • 1/2 bag edamame
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • One and 1/4 can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound fideos or angel hair pasta, broken into 3-inch length
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 ½ cup water
  1. Heat 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the large pot. Add the garlic, vegetables, and onions and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and edamame and cook until any liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the pimentón and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the brandy and cook until almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat for 30 minutes, skimming a few times. Bring the stock to a simmer, cover and keep hot.
  2. Meanwhile, in the large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the fideos and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in half of the stock, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add half of the remaining stock, cover and cook until almost absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining stock and cook, stirring, until the fideos are al dente, about 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon the fideos into shallow bowls, and serve.

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