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How to Make Mexican Pasta

Updated on August 6, 2012
Authentic Mexican Pasta!
Authentic Mexican Pasta! | Source

What do you think of "Sopa?"

5 stars from 2 ratings of Mexican Pasta

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: Serves Six

Introduction

Many families have a dish that is unique to their table. Many of my Litah’s recipes were well-known and traditional Mexican fare flavored by her own taste preferences. This dish, however, is one that I have never seen anywhere but at the table of my own family members. While I would be deeply surprised if it was truly unique to us, I am at least sure that it is very unusual in the areas I know well here in the southwestern United States.

This is a Mexican pasta dish cooked in a very similar way to how my Litah made Mexican rice, but the toasted pasta causes the flavor to come out in a completely different way. We have always called it “sopa,” which never made any sense to me as that means “soup” in Spanish. No one in my family can explain it, however, so I just continue the tradition.

In any case, this dish is always a hit with guests and it is one of the few dishes I make that never comes home again when I put it in a pot-luck dinner crock. If you’re looking for an alternative to Mexican rice and beans, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s get started!

A Note on the Ingredients: No one in my family has ever used exact measurements for this recipe. As a result, it always comes out a touch differently each time I make it. The measurements I have given you provide a good place to start, but be sure to take it from there and adapt it to your own tastes!

Ingredients for "Sopa"
Ingredients for "Sopa" | Source

Ingredients

  • 7 oz. Vermicelli Pasta, broken into small pieces
  • 1 Large Bunch Green Onions, around 2 cups chopped
  • 1 Large or 2-3 Roma Tomato(es), around 1 1/2 cups chopped
  • 2 Medium Cloves Fresh Garlic
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Menudo Mix, 1/4 is mild, 1/2 is spicy [substitue 1/4 tsp oregano + 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper if not available]
  • Dash Pepper, more if you like it hot
  • Dash Olive Oil, vegetable oil also works
  • Water, the amount varies

A Note on the Instructions: Most of the written instructions below have a time-stamp on them referring to where you can find them in the instructional video.

Prep the pasta with oil and microwave it to brown.
Prep the pasta with oil and microwave it to brown.
Check for an even, brown toasting of the pasta.
Check for an even, brown toasting of the pasta.
Dice the onions.
Dice the onions.
Dice the tomatoes.
Dice the tomatoes.
Dice the garlic.
Dice the garlic.
Add everything to the pot.
Add everything to the pot.
Get the mix boiling!
Get the mix boiling!
Turn off the burner when there is 1/4 of water left!
Turn off the burner when there is 1/4 of water left!
Time to enjoy!
Time to enjoy!

Instructions

  1. Place 7 oz. of vermicelli in a medium microwave-safe ceramic bowl: My Litah used to do this on the stove, as did I, but it takes a lot longer. The microwave is simpler and does not change the flavor in any way. NOTE: Be careful of plastic dishes. The vermicelli can heat up a lot in the microwaving process and I have had bowls scalded as a result—be careful. [Video Instructions—1:18]
  2. Add about a teaspoon of oil to the pasta and mix it, coating each piece lightly with oil: I like using olive oil, but any vegetable oil should do the trick. Take care not to use extra virgin olive oil, however, as that will have a very bad effect on the resulting flavor. [Video Instructions—1:40]
  3. Microwave the vermicelli uncovered on high for 1 1/2 minutes: Keep a close eye on this the first time through as microwaves vary quite a bit. 1 1/2 minutes should be a safe time to start. [Video Instructions—2:05]
  4. Stir the pasta, looking for a relatively even light golden-brown color: Toasting the pasta this way makes an important contribution to the final flavor. The darker the color is the stronger its effect, so experiment to find your own preferences. Be careful not to go too dark however, as the dish will then taste burnt. [Video Instructions—2:05]
  5. Continue microwaving the pasta in 30 second increments if it needs to be darker: It will generally take around 2 minutes to achieve the ideal browning. [Video Instructions—2:32]
  6. Chop the green onions:
  7. Dice the garlic very fine: Dicing the garlic as finely as possible will help the flavor. [Video Instructions—4:56]
  8. Put everything together in a medium pot. [Video Instructions—5:50]
  9. Add water until it reaches the top of the vegetables and pasta: The amount will vary slightly, but this approach always works. [Video Instructions—6:24]
  10. Add salt, pepper and Menudo Mix : Over time you will develop your own taste preferences for this dish, so alter these measurements as you see fit! [Video Instructions—6:45]
  11. Mix everything up. [Video Instructions—7:00]
  12. Leave the pot uncovered and turn the oven to high until the water boils. [Video Instructions—6:45]
  13. Turn the heat to medium high and let it cook without stirring for 10 to 15 minutes. [Video Instructions—7:18]
  14. When the water drops down to ¼ inch from the bottom of the pot, turn the burner off: Keep a sharp eye on the pot at this stage. The burner has to be turned off at the right time to keep it from burning. [Video Instructions—7:37]
  15. Leave the pot on the burner till all the water is gone: Leaving the pot on the burner will evaporate the last of the water without burning the pasta on the bottom of the pot. [Video Instructions—7:37]
  16. Enjoy! [Video Instructions—8:38]

How to Make Mexican Pasta

A Creative Option

“Sopa” makes a great side dish for any Mexican meal, but there are some other ways it can be eaten that are very effective.

Full Mexican Pasta Meal: Much like chicken and rice, you can mix Sopa up with taco meat and some cheese for simple and tasty main dish. I often do this with the leftovers and take them with me to work for lunch the following day—excellent!

Comments

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    • wayseeker profile imageAUTHOR

      wayseeker 

      3 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks for reading...it's great stuff!

    • Shivali Sharma profile image

      the vibe 

      3 years ago from Delhi, India

      The pictures of Mexican Pasta you posted tempted me to read this post and yes, nice recipe. Will surely try making it some day.

    • wayseeker profile imageAUTHOR

      wayseeker 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      DDE,

      A simple and wonderful recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

      wayseeker

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I enjoy a Mexican pizza anytime thanks for the interesting combination here

    • wayseeker profile imageAUTHOR

      wayseeker 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      Mekenzie,

      Thanks for popping in to visit! This recipe is scrumptious and very simple to prepare. If you have not toasted pasta before, you're in for a real treat. As to Menudo Mix, I've had a number of folks ask about this, and the ingredient is not essential, so I've edited my rice recipe along with this one to suggest an alternative (1/4 tsp oregano + 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper).

      Menudo Mix can often be found in the "Hispanic" foods section of your grocery store, though I have no idea how common it might be outside of where I live here Colorado. Here it's everywhere, but we have a fairly high Hispanic population, so that's no surprise. Elsewhere in the country with different demographics may be very different.

      Menudo Mix is a mix of spices used to make the Mexican tripe soup called "Menudo." It's a wonderful dish, though the thought of it makes my wife sick, so I'm going to guess it's an acquired taste (I was eating it before I could talk). In any case, the spices don't have anything odd in them, but the alternative I've suggested here will do just fine for this recipe.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment,

      wayseeker

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      I enjoy trying new recipe's and this one sounds really good. Question: What is Menudo Mix? I have never heard of browning pasta before but it sounds appealing.

      Great Hub! Voted Up and Useful,

      Mekenzie

    • wayseeker profile imageAUTHOR

      wayseeker 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      Coco,

      This recipe is one of my very favorites, and SO simple. Thanks so very much for the enthusiasm and the pin!

      Best,

      wayseeker

    • cocopreme profile image

      Candace Bacon 

      6 years ago from Far, far away

      I love Mexican food and I really love pasta, so this sounds like the perfect dish for me. I'm going to make this the next time we do a Mexican food night. I just pinned it to find later! Great hub and awesome recipe!

    • wayseeker profile imageAUTHOR

      wayseeker 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      Connie,

      The kind I buy is labelled "Fernandez." I think the trick is to make sure you get one that has a bit of lemon in it. When you eat menudo (which you should try if you haven't) they bring little bowls of oregano, chopped onions and lemon wedges. You put all of that in the soup and then eat. What I use is a combination of those things with some red pepper thrown in to add a spicy edge. You can actually cook it without it, but I like the extra dimension it adds.

      Thanks so much for stopping in to read!

      wayseeker

    • wayseeker profile imageAUTHOR

      wayseeker 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      Rebekah,

      Thanks so very much for dropping in. It's a personal favorite and one that my wife has taken to as well. Simple and unique.

      I appreciate you taking the time to visit,

      wayseeker

    • Connie Smith profile image

      Connie Smith 

      6 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

      Sounds really good. I had never heard of Menudo mix, so I looked it up and found several variations. Do you have a particular recipe or brand that you prefer?

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 

      6 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Nice looking recipe hub, and it looks and sounds delicious!

      You've made it very easy to follow. It looks like a dish I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • wayseeker profile imageAUTHOR

      wayseeker 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      Kelley,

      Your comment about being succinct is particularly inspiring to me. I often feel like a chatter too much! As such, I purposefully try to shorten things down. I'm really happy to see that it was time well spent. Thanks so very much for stopping in!

      wayseeker

    • wayseeker profile imageAUTHOR

      wayseeker 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      Marcy,

      Ah! So the problem is I left too early. (I was born in El Paso, Texas, but moved to Colorado when I was four.) I'm so happy to meet someone who knows the dish well. Wonderful stuff. Thanks for taking the time to read!

      wayseeker

    • wayseeker profile imageAUTHOR

      wayseeker 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      Allie,

      You'll love it, I have no doubt! Simple and tasty.

      Happy writing!

    • profile image

      kelleyward 

      6 years ago

      This looks amazing! I love how you create you make everything so succinct in your hubs! Voted up! Take care, Kelley

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      This stuff is so good! It's like Mexican Comfort Food! In Texas, it's commonly called Fideo, after the name of the pasta used in the dish, which is small pieces of vermicelli - already broken up the way you need to cook it. In addition to the tomatoes and onion, etc., sometimes it's eaten with pinto beans mixed in with the pasta. I've made it before - it's easy, inexpensive and really good.

    • alliemacb profile image

      alliemacb 

      6 years ago from Scotland

      Mexican pasta is a new one on me but willing to give it a go. Thanks for the recipe.

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