It's amazing how things slip through the cracks, falling to the wayside in the endless blur that is our daily lives. The recipe I made for dinner tonight, for example, is something that's been on my to-do list for nearly two months, but it always fell off my radar when something else would come up -- an unexpected dinner with family or friends, being too tired to cook, or needing to eat up some leftovers that I hadn't counted on when I did my meal planning at the beginning of the week. This dish kept getting bumped because all the ingredients were already in my freezer and pantry, and I could leave them be for another week while something intriguing went on sale at the grocery store and needed to be consumed in a short window of time.
It's good to have flexible meals like that; something that you could make at any time, but I've been so eager to try this recipe that I was starting to get a little sad that it always got put off. You see, when I read the list of ingredients, I suspected that I would really enjoy the end product, given that it contained spicy sausage, tomatoes, garlic, saffron, and onion -- all ingredients that can be found in my favorite pasta sauce. So this week I made up my mind that I wouldn't let myself get distracted, and that I would finally make this dish happen.
I was glad that I did. The recipe is a spin on fideos -- broken bits of either angel hair or spaghetti, that are used for a variety of eponymous soup and noodle dishes in Spain and Latin America. This particular incarnation fell more into the soup category, and it came together quickly enough to make it a more than acceptable weeknight meal choice. The broth was flavorful and a bit spicy from the andouille sausage (authentic Spanish chorizo is inexplicably difficult to find around here; the grocery stores only seem to carry Mexican chorizo, which is a fresh sausage, not cured, and therefore not a viable substitute.) The shrimp added a nice pop of briny sweetness every now and then.
My only complaint is that the recipe didn't make very much, and we only had a single bowl leftover. When you have two people in the house that need lunches to take to work, tense words are exchanged over who gets the coveted leftovers and who gets another salami sandwich, so in the future, I may opt to double this recipe. It's definitely worth giving it another go, given the convenience of having all the ingredients on hand (what does that say about me, that I keep shrimp and andouille sausage in the freezer, and saffron in the pantry at all times?), and the fact that it turned out to be just as delicious as I had hoped.
Fideos with Shrimp and Chorizo
adapted from Sunset
1 onion chopped fine
4 oz. cut spaghetti
3 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of saffron threads
1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 lb. Spanish chorizo or andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced thickly
2 1/2 c. chicken stock
1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large wide pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, covered, until starting to soften, 5 minutes. Add pasta and more oil if it looks dry, then toast over medium-high heat, turning constantly with tongs, until golden. Add garlic and saffron, tomatoes and tomato paste, sausages, and broth.
2. Boil pasta in soup, uncovered, until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add shrimp and cook just until pink and curled, about 1 minute. Season with salt to taste.