This Spanish way of cooking pasta in a thick fresh sauce makes a rich side dish to accompany meat or fish.
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500 g (1 lb 2 oz) tomatoes, chopped
1 whole head garlic, separated into individual cloves and peeled
150 g (5½ oz) onions, chopped
A strip of orange zest, about 5 cm (2 in) long
2 bay leaves and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together
10-12 strands saffron
600 ml (1 pint) vegetable stock
A pinch of caster sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
225 g (8 oz) vermicelli, broken into pieces
Salt and black pepper
To garnish: sprigs of fresh basil
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Method Prep:20min › Cook:30min › Ready in:50min
Put the tomatoes, garlic, onions, orange zest, herbs, saffron, stock and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Discard the herbs and zest, then purée the broth in a food processor or with a hand-held mixer.
Return the purée to the pan and stir in the oil, vermicelli, and some salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil then simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked and the broth has thickened. Season to taste and serve, garnished with basil.