Mexican Noodle Casserole (Sopa Seca)
This comforting casserole is dense with thin fideo noodles bathed in chile sauce. Serve it with a salad or pickled chiles on the side.
Yield: serves 4
- 1⁄4 cup canola oil, plus more for greasing
- 8 oz. fideos (available at mexgrocer.com) or vermicelli noodles, broken into 3" pieces
- 4 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
- 1⁄2 small white onion, roughly chopped
- 1⁄2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup crumbled Cotija
- 3⁄4 cup crema (available at mexgrocer.com) or sour cream
- 2 tbsp. minced cilantro
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat oven to 350°. Grease an 8" x 8" baking dish with oil; set aside. Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, add pasta and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and toasted, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain; set aside.
- Purée chipotles, garlic, tomatoes, and onion in a blender until very smooth, at least 2 minutes. Return skillet to heat, and add tomato purée; cook, stirring constantly, until almost all liquid is evaporated, about 18 minutes. Add stock, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add noodles, stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish, and cover with foil; bake until pasta is tender and sauce is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- Divide among serving plates, sprinkle with Cotija, and drizzle with crema; sprinkle with minced cilantro before serving.