With two major food magazines, Gourmet and Saveur both featuring pasta on their April, 2008 covers with major stories, it only seemed appropriate that I include a new pasta dish that we had on a recent trip to Guanajuato, served in the home of LuzMa Cardines Ramirez.
In Mexico, this dish would be considered a “dry” soup. After a very formal meal, it would be proper to serve first a “wet” soup to be followed by the dry one, much as pasta is served before a main course in Italy. These days it is usually one or the other, and rice is the most common, but pasta and crêpes are other traditional favorites.
Note by Marilyn: I put in chopped chile chipotle en adobe to the dish when I added the beans which gave it an extra flavor boost. Another option would be to serve it on the side and add it to taste.
- 4 tablespoons corn or safflower oil, divided in half
- 1 package of fideos(200 grams) or coils of thin vermicelli, broken into 3 parts, about 4 inches in length (make certain that they do not contain eggs)
- ¼ medium white onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped or 2 cups canned tomato pieces with puree
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- ½ cup Mexican cremaor sour cream thinned with a little milk
- 1/3 cup queso panelaor Muenster cheese, shredded
- 1/3 cup chicharron, chopped or crumbled
- 2 cups cooked black beans or 1 15-ounce can black beans
If using dried beans, put 2 cups of black beans in a pot and let soak overnight. (Note: I would never soak my beans overnight. I find no reason to do it. Marilyn) Replace the water and add enough water to cover at least 1 ½ inches above the beans. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, 2-4 hours, depending on the age of the beans, stirring occasionally and adding more water to keep it at the same level. Add about 1 teaspoon sea salt when the beans are tender. Remove from heat, add 2 epazote leaves or flat-leaf parsley, and reserve until needed.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat in a medium-size casserole dish, preferably an earthenware cazuela. Add the fideos and fry, stirring constantly, until dark golden, about 3 minutes. Scoop the fideos out and set aside in a medium-size sauce pan. Add the additional 2 tablespoons of oil and reheat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Set aside until cooled. Pour the garlic, onion and tomato mixture into a blender jar, adding ½ cup chicken broth, and blend until smooth.
Add the blended sauce to the sauce pan with the fideos and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat (the pasta should be fairly soft). Add the beans with broth and simmer until a little of the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the fideos to a serving dish or back into the cazuela and top with the cream, shredded cheese and the chopped chicharron.