Paella’s lesser-known cousin, fideos, boasts small toasted noodles simmered in a smoky tomato sauce. For a weeknight version, we swapped chorizo and shellfish for chickpeas, fennel, and kale. We cooked down diced tomatoes with garlic and smoked paprika to create the sauce, adding white wine for complexity, then simmered the pasta and chickpeas. A run under the broiler created a nice crunchy surface. Serve the fideos with Garlic Aïoli or lemon wedges. You will need a 12-inch broiler-safe skillet for this recipe. The skillet will be quite full once you add the pasta; we recommend using a straight-sided skillet or sauté pan for easier stirring.
1. Toss pasta and 2 teaspoons oil in 12 inch broiler-safe skillet until pasta is evenly coated. Toast pasta over medium-high heat, stirring often, until browned and releases nutty aroma (pasta should be color of peanut butter), 6 to 10 minutes; transfer to bowl.
2. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to now-empty skillet and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add kale, a handful at a time, sliced fennel, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until mixture is thick, dry, and slightly darkened in color, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in garlic and paprika and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Stir in toasted pasta until thoroughly combined. Stir in water, chickpeas, wine, reserved tomato juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is slightly thickened and pasta is just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler.
4. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until surface of pasta is dry with crisped, browned spots, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove skillet from oven (skillet handle will be hot). Let cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with fennel fronds and serve with garlic aïoli.
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