Sopa Seca (aka Mexican Spaghetti)

Sopa Seca (aka Mexican Spaghetti)

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3-4 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, depending on your taste for heat
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 (15-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons high-heat oil, such as canola or grapeseed
8 ounces fideos, or vermicelli noodles broken into 3-inch pieces
2/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock (Kennedy calls for 1/2 cup, but I generally prefer fully cooked to al dente, so added a splash more and it worked quite well)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

crumbled cotija or feta cheese
sour cream or crema
handful cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
a side of beans and avocado (optional)


Purée the chipotles, garlic, tomatoes, and onion in a blender until very smooth, at least 2 minutes. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a big oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the pasta and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and toasted, ~2-3 minutes. Scoop out of the pan, set aside, and toast the remaining noodles. Scoop those out of the pan as well, and place with the others.

Return the skillet to heat, and pour in the tomato mixture. Beware the spatter! Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated (~15-20 minutes). Add the stock, stir and cook another minute, then turn off the heat and add the noodles. Stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

While the tomato mixture is cooking down, preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit. When the pasta has been added and seasoned, cover the pan with foil, and place in the oven. Bake until the pasta is tender and the sauce is absorbed, ~10 minutes. NOTE: If you don't have an oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the contents of an ordinary skillet to an oiled 8-inch casserole dish at this point, and cover/bake that (which is actually what Kennedy recommends, but I'm a one-pot gal myself whenever possible).

To serve, divide onto plates, and let diners top with cheese, drizzle with crema, and sprinkle with cilantro as desired. Enjoy hot, with beans, avocado, and/or salad on the side.