The only place I’ve ever eaten paella was Barcelona; made with rice and fresh seafood. It was so good that I thought it would be pointless to try it any place else. But today I made a variation called Fideuà, which is made with toasted noodles instead of rice. Given that I am Northern New Jersey and not Northern Spain; i.e. I used frozen shrimp instead of fresh mussels and clams; the results were spectacular. This crispy noodles offered more flavor than rice, and the flavors were perfectly balanced. Amazingly, it only took a little more than 1 hour to prepare. 4-1/2 stars.
- Admittedly, I don’t think most people can make this recipe for $12. I got a great deal on the shrimp for just $3.99/lb. Wow, I stocked up, but it is rare that I can buy the shrimp for less than $7/lb. Still, even if you add $6, it’s still a lot cheaper than a trip to Barcelona.
- I used 2-pounds of shrimp instead of the required 1-1/2 pounds. I am a shrimp lover and can never get enough shrimp. I increased the marinate ingredient by 1/3 to compensate.
- Chris Kimball recommends serving with Aïoli, but I didn’t make it today. The recipe is here. Unfortunately I was out of eggs and didn’t have time to go to the store.
Cost: $12. (but see comments)
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium/High.
Start time 4:45 PM. Finish time 6:00 PM.
Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe today are given below:
3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
1-1/2 pounds extra large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound),
2-3/4 cups water
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
8 ounces thin spaghetti
14-1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Place the frozen shrimp in a large bowl with cold tap water and allow to defrost, replacing water with fresh tap water once or twice. Prepare you marinade, which will infuse the shrimp with flavor while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, clove garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl
- Peel the shrimp placing the shrimp in them medium bowl containing the oil/garlic, and setting aside the shells in a small/medium, microwavable bowl. Gently toss the shrimp to coat them with oil, cover with plastic wrap and and refrigerate until Step 14.
- Add 2-3/4 cups water, 1 cup chicken broth and bay leaf to the bowl containing the shells. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 6 minutes, and set aside until Step 12.
- In two batches, lay spaghetti out in a single layer on a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel to close, slide lengthwise so that 1-1/2″ overhangs the counter and push down to break into 1-1/2″ segments. Repeat until all spaghetti has been broken down short pieces. Add to a broiler-safe 12″ skillet, and repeat breaking process with remaining 4 ounces of spaghetti.
- Add 2 teaspoons oil to skillet, and toss so that the spaghettini becomes evenly coated. Put over medium-high burner and brown for 8 minutes. Stir frequently for that it browns evenly, and should eventually have a smell nutty and appear about the same color as peanut butter. Empty toasted spaghettini into bowl, then use a paper towel to wipe out the skillet.
- Open can of diced tomatoes and set in fine-mess strainer to allow any liquid to drain away. Finely chop the onion, then finely chop drained tomatoes.
- Pre-heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in skillet over medium-high burner until it begins to shimmer. Saute finely chopped onion together with 1/4 teaspoon salt for 5 minutes.
- Add finely chopped tomatoes and continue cooking for 5 minutes until it has become slightly darker.
- Turn down burner to medium, and press 2 remaining garlic gloves directly into the skillet. Add both types of paprika and anchovy paste. Cook for 1-1/2 minutes.
- Add toasted spaghettini to skillet and stir to combine.
- Adjust an oven rack so that it’s 5″ or 6″ for the broiler element, and pre-heat on high.
- Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer into the skillet. Stir in 1/4 cup wine, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Increase burner to medium-high, bring up to a simmer, then cook an additional 9 minutes.
- Scatter shrimp in skillet and partially submerge. Broil for 7 minutes until the shrimp is cooked and spaghettini becomes dry and has some crispy, brown spots.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes; then top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.