Adapted from Doña Tomás by Thomas Schnetz and Dona Savitsky
There is flexibility with this recipe. Leave out the oregano and/or chipotle, if you like. Use only one garnish, if that is all you have. Should you have leftover fideo, beat together a couple of eggs and add the fideo, then cook in a skillet for a frittata à la Mexicana.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven or a very large skillet over medium heat until shimmering (I prefer a Dutch oven for maximum ease of toasting and stirring). Break up the fideo or pasta with your hands, and add the noodles to the oil. Fry the fideo, stirring frequently, until the pieces are light brown and toasted. Using a large slotted spoon or a spider, scoop the fideo into a bowl.
- Add the remaining oil and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Add garlic and oregano and cook for another minute or so. Add the tomatoes, chipotle, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until the tomatoes start to break down, about 3 minutes. Let cool a bit, then add the tomato mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. You want a thinnish sauce, so add a bit of water if needed.
- Return the blended sauce to the Dutch oven over medium-low heat and add toasted fideos. Cook, stirring frequently, until the fideos are beginning to soften, up to 10 minutes. Continue cooking and stirring, adding ¼ cup broth or water each time the liquid has been absorbed, until the fideo is tender. This is Mexican pasta: You don’t want it al dente, you want it soft, with the barest hint of bite. Add salt to taste. Serve with your choice of garnishes, including cilantro, queso fresco or Cotija, crema or sour cream or yogurt, avocado, and lime.
Scott Hocker is a writer, editor, recipe developer, cookbook author, and content and editorial consultant. He has worked in magazines, kitchens, newsletters, restaurants and a bunch of other environments he can’t remember right now. He has also been the editor in chief of both liquor.com and Tasting Table.