Inspired by the prospect of fresh seafood at the greenmarket and a free evening for making dinner, we decided to try our hands at some fideua—Catalan pasta with shellfish, similar to the Spanish paella. We found this recipe that seemed simple enough, and though the blogger wasn’t a fan of Bittman as we usually are, we decided to give it a try.
I was a bit hesitant that it didn’t start with a sofrito (tomato, garlic paste that usually is the base for these types of dishes) and while I probably should have followed my instincts, the final product was pretty tasty anyway. We started as the recipe suggested, by trying to brown the pasta noodles, and arrived at the same problem as the linked blogger: pieces of pasta everywhere. But I was resolved to not be bothered by this, and tried to keep the noodles better arranged, by taking them all out and stacking them all neatly. This was a great idea, but it didn’t last long in a round pan.
After talking to my Catalan friends later, I was told that they don’t usually brown the noodles at all, that they do start with a sofrito as I suspected, and that the noodles can even be a bit shorter than we broke them up…all boding well for a more successful fideua attempt next time. I just can’t figure out why Bittman would suggest such a funny (and difficult) approach to a dish that Catalans view as easier than paella….