Fideos are short vermicelli noodles that can be traced back to the Moorish influence in Spain, dating back to the eighth century. They eventually made their way to Israel when Spanish Jews immigrated in the 1600s and have been steeped in the Sephardic culinary tradition ever since.
James Beard Awardee Michael Solomonov shares this vegan recipe for Pumpkin Broth with Fideos that foregoes chicken or vegetable stock in lieu of creating an intense broth from leftover pumpkin peels and a mixture of Sephardic spices. He also suggests bruléeing your onions first to deepen their savoriness and give the broth its beautiful golden color.
This mixture of pumpkin, fideos and traditional Sephardic spices like cinnamon, ginger and cloves make this the perfect recipe for fall. You’ll find this and many other recipes from his Philadelphia-based restaurant in his latest book, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.
Pumpkin Broth with Fideos
1 red kuri or acorn squash, peeled and cut into 2” pieces, skin and seeds reserved
1 onion, halved
2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, sliced
2 tsps kosher salt
1 cup fideos
2 cups shredded kale
½ cup pearl onions
Heat a cast iron pan over high heat until smoking, about 3 minutes. Add the onion halves, cut-side down, to the pan and cook undisturbed until the onion has a black layer of char across it, about 5 minutes. Reserve.
For the broth: Warm 1-tablespoon of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the squash skin and seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until the color darkens and some squash residue begins sticking to the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Add 2 quarts water, the reserved onion, tomatoes, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Strain, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible, and return the broth to the pot.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the fideos with 1-teaspoon of the oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until the fideos have darkened in color and smell a bit nutty, about 4 minutes. (Watch them closely, as they go from perfectly toasted to burnt very quickly.) Set aside.
Toss the squash with the remaining tablespoon of oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Roast until dark brown but not fully cooked, about 15 minutes.
Return the broth to a simmer and add the kale and pearl onions. Simmer until the vegetables just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted squash and toasted fideos and cook, stirring, until the soup has thickened and the fideos are tender, about 4 more minutes. Serve immediately in bowls.