Sopa Seca

Pasta. That's not Mexican, right? Think again. You see it in homes throughout Mexico, one of the many foreign foods that we have welcomed into our cuisine and something I ate growing up. We call this Mexican comfort food, funnily enough, sopa seca, which means "dry soup."
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  • Level: Easy
  • Yield: 2 servings as a side or snack
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Roasted Tomato-Chile de Arbol Salsa:

1 pound plum tomatoes (about 4)

3 to 6 chiles de arbol, depending on how spicy you like it

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium white onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sopa Seca:

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup small shaped pasta such as melon seeds, orzo, or alphabets

1/2 cup Roasted Tomato-Chile de Arbol Salsa

2 cups chicken stock (low-sodium store-bought is fine)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

A handful of shredded cotija or queso fresco (preferably the Cacique brand, or pecorino, Parmesan, or lightly salty feta


  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or medium pot over medium-high heat until it ripples. Add the pasta and cook, stirring constantly, until the pasta is golden, about 3 minutes.
  2. Scoop out and discard 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the Roasted Tomato-Chile Arbol Salsa and cook for 2 minutes, stirring the whole time. Pour in the chicken stock and let the liquid come to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook, stirring once in a while, until the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Divide the pasta between two bowls and garnish with the cilantro and cheese.