Fideua, poor-woman style

Fideua is a Spanish dish, usually cooked with a bunch of meat/fish/crustaceans, but this recipe comes from Vegetarian Times (link here), and is relatively fast and simple to make. I call it poor-woman style, as it doesn't use traditional noodles and has modifications for those that don't have the proper cookware. That being said, I haven't perfected it yet. My goal is to get the noodles really crispy on top.

I don't have a Fideua pan. If I did, I could probably achieve my crunchy-noodle goal. I have a pretty darn good selection of cookware, but I'm not sure said pan would be a worthwhile investment.

My alterations: whole wheat thin spaghetti instead of processed angel hair, "chunky" chopped onion instead of diced, added jalapeno.

The preparation is the longest part of the process. There's a lot of chopping to be done. Here's most of it (which took me about 40 minutes, I'd say.)

I made the mistake, once, of chopping jalapeno bare-handed. Not only did the juice get under my nails and burn for DAYS, but I touched my face, thinking I'd washed my hands enough, and got jalapeno in my eye. Worst. Eye Experience. Ever.

First, you cook the broken pasta in some olive oil for a few minutes. I love the smell it creates.

Then, transfer the pasta to a paper-towel covered plate to drain. Cook the onions in olive oil until soft, then add in the mushrooms, red bell pepper, and jalapeno. I used Publix's gourmet blend of mushrooms.

Add in the smoked paprika, parsley, and tomato sauce. I try to buy Publix's Greenwise tomato sauce. I just wish they made it salt-free.

The smell of smoked paprika is delectable, and it makes the veggies absolutely gorgeous.

Add in the pasta, and vegetable broth. I skipped the water. For veggie broth, I use Rapunzel vegan bouillon cubes. They're cheaper than buying prepared broth, and easier than making broth from scratch. The only obnoxious thing about the bouillon cubes is that they leave a thick residue on whatever container you prepare them in.

Simmer for a few minutes, then add in the asparagus. Simmer for a few more minutes, letting asparagus retain its crispiness.

The directions say to put the fideua in a wide cake pan, but all I have are 8". I have to put it in two pans. I put the rack close to the broiler, which works better than in the middle (which is the distance I used the first time I prepared the dish). I broiled for 4 minutes, but I think I should have gone longer. I can't get that crispiness I want!

I prepared some aioli, which came out a bit too garlicky. Next time, I'd probably use fewer garlic cloves. However, mixing it in the fideua gives the dish a delightful creamy texture and taste.

The significant other skipped out on this for pizza. Imagine.

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