Fideus with Mushrooms and Peas

I realize that what I did to this recipe is pretty sacrelig, and if Judy Rogers ever stumbles upon this blog, I know she’ll be highly disappointed. I used regular old button mushrooms and frozen peas when the recipe called for wild mushrooms and freshly shelled peas. And although I’m sure using what she suggests would have made this even better, it was still HIGHLY delicious with the lowly, ordinary mushrooms and peas from the freezer.

Fideus is basically risotto made with pasta instead of rice. I found thin, 1 inch long noodles in the Mexican food section, but if you can’t find them, just take the thinnest pasta you can find, and break it up into short pieces. You may want to spread the preparation of this dish out over several days. The onion base is time consuming (but SO worth it), and keeps well in the fridge for a few days. Once that’s ready, the actual cooking of this dish is pretty quick.

(adapted from Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers)

onion base
3 cups finely diced yellow onion
3 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 diced roma tomato
2 small dried chilis, broken in half

10 ounces fideo pasta (or cappellini broken into short pieces)
2 tsp olive oil

6 ounces assorted mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/4″ thick
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup fresh peas (or frozen, rinsed with warm water and drained)
chopped parsley for garnish

To make the onion jam:
Put the onions and olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and stir well. Heat until the onions begin to brown on the bottom, then turn down the heat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until they are all golden and very soft. Add a few pinches of salt, then stir in the tomato, garlic, and chilis. Continue cooking over low for about an hour until it has the consistency of jam, adding a little water if it gets too dry. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and keep in the fridge until ready to use (it will keep for about a week).

To toast the noodles:
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Toss the noodles with the oil in a large bowl, and spread onto two baking sheets so the noodles are in a single layer. Heat in the oven until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from the oven, let cool, and turn the oven up to 475 to finish the dish.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook until they’re soft, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, onion base, noodles, and about 1 1/2 cups of broth. Simmer and stir until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Add another 1 1/2 cups broth, and cook until absorbed. Add the peas and remaining broth, and turn the heat up to high, cooking until the liquid is absorbed.

Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then remove and garnish with fresh parsley to serve.

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