Published July 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.
Fideuà, a rich seafood paella made with toasted noodles instead of rice, would be a tempting one-pot meal—if only it didn’t take hours to make.
This seafood paella’s cooking process is too long and involved to make as often as we want to.
We wanted a streamlined version of this recipe that leaves it every bit as deeply flavorful as the more time-consuming versions.
Our first step was to make a shrimp stock without even dirtying a pot. We used our shrimp shells as the base, then added chicken broth and a small measure of white wine for brightness.
The traditional pasta is called fideos, but we found we could make a more readily available substitute from snapping spaghettini into pieces. Toasting the pieces on the stovetop, per authentic recipes, required stirring, but was much easier to monitor than toasting them in the oven.
We chose our dish’s flavorings with streamlining in mind. In the interest of efficiency, we ruled out preparing the sofrito flavor base separately, in another skillet. We also opted for canned diced tomatoes that we drained well and chopped fine. Added to the skillet with the softened onion, they reduced to a thick paste in a matter of minutes.
Some recipes finish the dish in the oven, turning the surface of the pasta crisp and brown—a nice contrast with the tender noodles and seafood underneath. The broiler was ideal for achieving such a crust, but when its intense heat toughened up the shrimp, we decided to make a small change: After scattering the raw shrimp over the surface of the pasta, we gently stirred them into the noodles to partially submerge them and protect them from the heat.
All our recipe needed was two traditional accompaniments: lemons wedges and a spoonful of aioli, a garlic mayonnaise that adds richness.list of recipes