I have to thank my sister, Francine, and Superstar Chef AarÃ³n Sanchez in the new Holiday issue of Food Network Magazine for inspiring this post. On my way home from work the other day, I was chatting with Francine when she started reading to me from Food Network Magazine about AarÃ³n Sanchez’s favorite meal from his childhood: “Sopa Seca (Mexican Noodle Casserole), for sure, because my mom always made it for us and it is the ultimate comfort food.” Since Francine and I are always talking about our favorite comfort foods and our favorite food memories as kids, she thought I would appreciate hearing about this dish that is completely new to me but so familiar to someone else. I love that about comfort food! When I got home, I started doing research on Sopa Seca right away and what I learned is that this comforting dish is made with raw noodles that are fried before cooking and it has a homemade flavor-packed sauce that is spicy! Very spicy. To make this dish healthier, I use spaghetti squash, which I cooked al dente so I could fry it before adding my own quick and easy version of the beautiful red sauce and baking.
The color of this sauce is so intense! Since there is no cooking time, you can blend the sauce in only one minute and it is ready. I doubled the recipe and poured the rest of the sauce over chicken to bake. I love a versatile sauce like this!
I covered the dish and baked the Sopa Seca for 30 minutes, until the sauce was no longer loose in the pan. If you want to adapt this recipe, you can stir in chopped white onions before baking for some crunch.
I topped the Sopa Seca with sour cream (definitely use Mexican Crema if you can find it), feta cheese and fresh cilantro. A few other topping options are avocado and cheddar cheese. Enjoy! Maybe this will become a new comfort food in your house too.