Our favorite way of preparing angel hair nests is a Mexican dish called “sopa seca de fideo”. It’s a lot like pilaf, but made with thin noodles instead of rice.
The name “sopa seca de fideo” translates to “dry soup with noodles”. It’s not soup, it’s called a “dry soup” because the noodles absorb all of the wonderful rich stock, making the noodles taste more delicious than you can possibly imagine.
The dish is made with thin noodles, angel hair pasta or vermicelli. My mother makes this dish at least once a month and we were raised just calling it by the noodle name, vermicelli. All you have to do is say that word and the collective eyes of our family light up with glee.
Although it can be made with straight noodles, we always make fideo with the twirled nests. It’s pretty, and easier to serve that way, one nest, one serving. The dish can be used as an alternative to Spanish Rice in accompanying a meal.
The trick to a great sopa seca de fideo is the chicken broth. Over the hundreds of times we’ve made this dish over the last fifty years we’ve used bouillon, boxed broth, and homemade chicken stock.
While bouillon and the boxes work in a pinch, nothing beats homemade stock for this recipe. It brings a richness that can’t be had any other way. So if you try it, I strongly urge you to use homemade stock!
Updated from the recipe archive. First posted 2005.