One of the recipes I adore is Fideua. Fideua is a dish similar to a Paella but cooked with Pasta instead. The Pasta is toasted first and then finishs cooking in a flavorful broth on the stovetop.
(The New Spanish table, Anya von Bremzen)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
About 1 pound fideo noodles or thin spaghetti, broken into 2-inch length (it is easier to put them in a ziploc bag to brake them into pieces)
4 cups bottled clam juice diluted with 2 cups water (or 6 cups fish stock, or shrimp shell stock)
1 medium size pinch of saffron, pulverized in a mortar
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 pound small shrimp, shelled
2 teaspoons sweet (not smoked) paprika
Sofregit (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
12 to 16 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
Lemon wedges, or serving
Optional: Allioli for serving
Make a quick sofregit by cooking 1 chopped medium-size onion and 4 cloves of crushed garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil in the paella pan for 7 to 8 minutes. Add 1 large grated tomato and cook the sofregit until it is darkened and reduced, about 5 minutes
1. Toast the noodles: Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 15- or 16-inc paella pan or a very large skillet over medium heat. Add half the noodles and cook, stirring, until nicely browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Watch the noodles closely, as they tend to burn in not time. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the noodles to a large bowl, making sure none remain in the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan and toast the remaining noodles in the same fashion, transferring them to the bowl when browned. Wipe the paella pan clean. (The noodles can also be toasted in a 425 F / 225 C oven without oil: Just spread them on tow large-rimmed baking sheets and toast them until nicely browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes.)
2. Place the shrimp stock in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the saffron and keep at a simmer until ready to use.
3. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the paella pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the small shrimp and stir until they turn opaque, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the paprika and stir for a few seconds. Add the sofregit and cook until it is warmed through. Add the toasted noodles and stir to coat with the pan mixture. Pour in 3 cups of the simmering stock, keeping the remaining stock simmering. Set the paella pan over two burners and stir in the parsley. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the noodles begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Periodically move and rotate the pan so that the liquid boils evenly. Add another 2 cups of the stock and continue cooking in the same fashion until most of the liquid is absorbed and the noodles are cooks but a little al dente, another 5 to 6 minutes. If the liquid is absorbed too fast and the noodles are still hard, add some or all of the remaining 1 cup of stock. Transfer the paella pan to the oven and bake until the noodles are soft and the liquid in the pan is syrupy, 7 to 8 minutes.
5. While the noodles are baking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Stir-fry the jumbo shrimp, a few at a time, adding some of the remaining garlic to each batch, until bright pink and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl and keep warm.
6. When the noodles are done, change the oven setting to broil. Pass the noodles under the broiler until the noodles on top are lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Let the noodles stand for 5 minutes. Arrange the jumbo shrimp decoratively over the noodles. Serve the dish straight from the pan, accompanied by lemon wedges and Allioli.
Serves 8 as a first course, 6 as a main course
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup peanut or canola oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 large very fresh, organic, egg yolks
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
coarse sea salt
Stir together both oils in a measuring cup with a spout. Place the garlic, egg yolks, and lemon juice in a blender and pulse until a coarse paste forms. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow, thin, steady stream. The mixture will be the consistency of a thick mayonnaise. Scrape the allioli into a bowl, and season with salt to taste, and more lemon juice, if desired. Let stand at least 1 hour before serving, or cover and refrigerate if keeping longer. If the allioli seems to thick, thin it out with a little water before using.
Makes just over 1 cup