A few months ago I discovered the joy of cooking pasta in just enough liquid to bubble up over the top of the noodles. (Thanks to Cooking LIght magazine for the inspiration.) I realized that this dish translates easily to sopa seca, the wonderful “dry soup” of Mexico.

There’s nothing dry about sopa seca, but there’s not a whole lot of liquid. The method defies the conventional wisdom of giving pasta plenty of room in pot as they boil. Indeed, I still cook pasta that way when it’s the right way to cook it.

This method—which uses just 2 1/2 cups of broth for 4 ounces of pasta—behaves in an interesting way with any pasta, and particularly with gluten-free versions. I feared that it might dissolve into mush, which can happen pretty easily when you boil g.f. pasta in a giant pot of water. But Full Circle Gluten-Free Spaghetti, made from corn and rice, stayed stubbornly intact, remained pleasantly “to the teeth,” as they say in Italian.  Additionally, the corn and rice starch soaks into the broth, boosting it with subtle flavor. Given both grains’ close association with Mexican cuisine, it worked perfectly.

(If, by the way, you’re interested and even skeptical about cooking pasta in less water, read this entertaining NYTimes article.)

For the zucchini, I used Steve’s trick for even browning; he’s a stickler for getting all sides seared. Rather than cube the zucchini before hand (thus having to turn over each individual cube), we slice the zucchini lengthwise. We end up with 5 or 6 slices that are easy to turn; then we cut them afterward.

Zucchini is roasted before adding to sopa seca.

It goes together quickly. Non-vegans can add any number of protein choices to it, but it’s wonderfully filling and you really don’t need them, especially if you go a little hog-wild with the toppings. Is the vegan version of hog-wild….I dunno, avocado-wild? I kinda like that. May keep it. Or send your own nominations in the comments section. Above all, simply enjoy this lovely meal.

Sopa seca featuring roasted zucchini, avocado, cilantro, and other garnishes.

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Sopa Seca
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Cuisine Latin, Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisine Latin, Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Heat a flat-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and sauté 4 minutes, or until becoming translucent. Add bell pepper and continue to stir another 4 minutes. Sprinkle on Mexican spice and salt, and stir until well-blended. Remove from pan.
  2. Return pan to heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. When hot, lay zucchini slices in oil. Cook until brown on one side, approximately 4 minutes, then turn. When both sides are brown, remove zucchini to cutting board and cut into squares.
  3. Bring broth to a boil. Return pan to heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon to pan. Break pasta in thirds, add to pan, and saute; the pasta will brown somewhat, and some strands may turn light. After 3-4 minutes of stirring, add 2 cups boiling water to pan. Turn heat to high and boil pasta. As broth evaporates, add additional broth in 1/4 cup increments, testing pasta for doneness.
  4. Mix jicama and halved tomatoes with lime juice. When pasta is al dente, remove to bowls. Top with onion/pepper mix, diced zucchini, sliced avocado, and chopped cilantro. Have jicama and tomatoes on hand to add to sopa seca or to eat on the side.
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