It’s a cool drizzly day today and I have been busy sowing peas and planting lettuce so that they can benefit from the dampness. So after that, a warm hearty lunch is required. My first thought was to make a vegetable paella, and I found that I’d forgotten to buy rice but while looking in the cupboard I saw that I had fideuá. These are small pasta, usually, but not always, rice shaped, that are cooked in place of rice in a paella pan with similar ingredients to a paella. As with paella Spanish cooks vary the ingredients depending on what vegetables are in season, and of course if you are a meat or fish eater, then small pieces of these can be added to your ingredient list.
Today’s fideuá – this makes two portions
70 grams fideua
1 large spring onion – sliced
1 large spring garlic -sliced
2 shiitake mushrooms – halved and sliced thinly
150 grams fresh broad beans
half a picante green pepper – cut into small cubes
200 grams courgette – cut into bite sizedcubes
150 grams fresh globe artichokes – prepared, sliced and fried
1 large tomato
few sprigs of thyme
pinch of saffron threads
pinch of smoked pimienton/paprika
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Prepare your artichokes first. I had some left from a previous dish. Clean the artichokes down to the tender leaves. Top and tail them. Cut into thin slices and fry immediately in olive oil until about half cooked. Remove from pan.
Add more oil and fry the onion, garlic and green pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent.
Add the mushroom and stir in. Cook for a couple of minutes
Add the courgette, stir in and let fry for five minutes.
Cut the tomato in half and grate the flesh up to the skin into a bowl. Discard the skins.
To the pan add the tomatoes, pasta and broad beans. Stir to mix.
Add the seasonings and then enough stock to come just to the top of the pan contents. Turn the heat down low, cover the pan and let cook slowly for five minutes.
Add the artichokes and more stock as needed.
Check the liquid level in the pan every few minutes until the pasta is cooked. If you are using the rice shaped pasta this will only be another five to ten minutes, other thicker pastas will need longer. The dish does not want to be as dry as a paella.
Once the pasta is cooked, turn off the heat and leave to sit for 5 minutes before serving with wedges of lemon to squeeze over.