Fideo is a delicious alternative to the traditional rice and bean side dish. The sauce is very much like what you would use for rice, only a bit “soupier”, and it definitely has a Mexican food flavor. Some have called it Mexican spaghetti, but it only looks like that–no Italian spices nor thick tomato sauce in fideo. You can find it in the rice aisle of your grocery store, or the International Foods section. The package will either say “fideo” or “vermicelli”.
Whenever fideo was on the menu at home, everyone got twice as happy, almost getting in line to be served first. As you all know, you eat with your eyes first, right? Well, our eyes devoured the fideo even before it hit the plate because we knew we were in for a real treat! Actually, before we even entered the kitchen, because the aroma that comes from this dish while it is simmering is what makes a house a home. It needs to be an air freshener.
You pay a slight price for this delicious dish, though. You must hover over it while it is browning or it will burn. Trust me–I’ve walked away before and had to toss it and start all over again. Fideo is more delicate than rice and scorches easily so you need to constantly stir and flip the fideo as it browns. Once you’ve added the sauce, you’re safe. Just make sure to have the sauce blended and ready when you begin to brown it and you’ll be rewarded!
You can buy fideo pre-cut into 2-3″ length pieces, or it also comes coiled, like fresh pasta. If you cannot find it pre-cut, simply use your rolling pin to roll over the unopened package of fideo and you’re good to go!
- 1 large tomato, roughly diced
- ½" slice onion, roughly diced
- 1 clove garlic
- 3-1/2 cups chicken broth or water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 package (12 oz.) cut fideo
- 1 diced and seeded green chile (optional)
- In a blender, add the tomato, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and 1 cup of the broth. Blend until smooth and set aside.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Saute the vermicelli in the skillet until golden, stirring and flipping constantly. Vermicelli is more delicate than rice and scorches easily.
- Once the fideo is a medium golden brown, add the tomato/broth mixture, the optional green chile and the remaining 2-1/2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed (15-20 minutes) or the fideo is "al dente". If the liquid absorbs too quickly, you can add a bit more broth or water.*
Et cetera: My mother was not an overly affectionate woman, but we definitely felt her love in her food. She was a bit of a short order cook when it came to showing her love for us in the kitchen. Some of us prefered a drier fideo, while others liked the soupy version. She would make it both ways by dividing it into 2 saucepans after the fideo was cooked and adding more broth to the second pan. I miss her.