Fideua has all the wonderful flavors of paella, but is instead made with short pasta. It's packed with seafood and plenty of great flavor. You'll be back for more!
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I have mentioned before that many years ago I was lucky enough to live in Spain for a while. Twice, actually - the first time in Catalunya then a couple years later in Madrid. Both exposed me to many fantastic food experiences and in Catalunya in particular, I came across so many great, unique dishes. I was lucky in having a few friends who introduced me to lots of dishes and helped me learn what was a local specialty versus something from elsewhere in Spain.
I remember being pleasantly surprised by how many Catalan and other regional Spanish dishes there were. Many are not really things I had been aware of. Some were incredibly easy (like the pan tomate) while others, like this fideua, took a bit more time. But key to all were great fresh ingredients, and olive oil.
What is fideua?
Fideua is a traditional dish, similar in style to paella but made with short spaghetti-like pasta called 'fideos'. Its base is a wonderful mix of fish stock and a smooth tomato-pepper sauce that the pasta soaks up as it cooks, taking on all of that deliciousness. Then it's crammed with fish and seafood.
Fideua is one of those dishes that's comforting in cold weather but also light enough for warm weather. Certainly warmer is more typical in Catalunya and neighboring Valencia region, where this is believed to be from.
It's traditionally served with alioi (garlic mayonnaise) and a squeeze of lemon. Otherwise it's a one pan meal (well, once you've made your stock, if you do, which I recommend).
We have made a number of Spanish and Catalan dishes that we have enjoyed in our family, from tapas like Spanish chickpeas and spinach and tortilla to romesco sauce. And fideua is another we love as well. After all, it's a flavorful pasta dish so what's not to love?
How it's made
Making fideua does, like I say, take a little bit of time but it's not a complicated dish by any means. You can make it a little quicker and easier by not making your own fish stock. However to be honest, it's so easy and adds a great flavor I really wouldn't suggest you skip this. You can also start making everything else while it's cooking then add the stock when you need it a bit later.
To make the rest of the dish, you quickly cook and remove the fish and shrimp, then cook down the onion and pepper that forms the base of the dish. Then add in the garlic and fennel seeds, followed by the pasta, to take on the oils etc then cover it with stock and tomatoes.
The pasta then cooks in this delicious mixture. The clams, fish and shrimp are added towards the end and once cooked, it's served. You can vary the seafood and fish you add to taste or what you have available but these are a good mix.
Fideua, like paella, would traditionally be cooked outside on an open fire to add even more great flavor but even cooking indoors it's a wonderfully tasty dish. It's one that you make in as large a quantity as you need (or can fit in a pan) to share.
I have some great memories of enjoying fideua on the beach or at home with both friends and family. I hope you'll give this dish a try and make some of your own memories - it's certainly a delicious dish to add to your 'to try' list.
Try these other traditional Spanish recipes
- Catalan coca - Spanish pizza
- Fabada Asturiana (pork and bean stew)
- Arroz negro (black rice paella)
- Plus get many more Spanish recipes in the archives.
Fideua (pasta paella)
- 1 bronzini whole - also called dorada, often sold as sea bass in UK - ask for fillets removed but keep bones
- ½ lb shrimp/prawns 225g, shell on
- 1 stick celery
- 1 carrot small, cleaned but no need to peel or take ends off
- 2 stems parsley
- 1 sprig thyme
- 5 tablespoon olive oil approx
- 1 Spanish onion
- 1 red pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 14 oz crushed tomatoes 400g, 1 can
- 2 small pinches around 15 threads saffron
- 12 oz pasta 340g, fideos/broken spaghetti
- ½ lb clams 225g
- Remove the shells from the shrimp/prawns and keep the shells.
- Make the stock by placing the fish bones, shells of the shrimp, celery, carrot, parsley stems, sprig of thyme and a small wedge of the onion in a pot and cover with water. You'll need to add around 4 cups/960ml water to the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer (covered).
- Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining onion, pepper and garlic.
- Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet/frying pan over a medium-low heat and fry the fish and shrimp gently until almost cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Clean out any stuck-on skin etc from pan, add the remaining oil and then the onion and pepper.
- Cook for around 10min, stirring now and then (turn lower after a few mins), then add paprika, garlic and fennel seeds.
- By now the stock should be ready; strain it to remove all the bones and vegetables and add the saffron to infuse.
- Cook the onions and spice mixture for 5 more minutes then add tomatoes.
- Cook a further few mins then add fideos (pasta). Stir well so that they are covered by the oily mixture and cook another couple minutes.
- Add the stock (3cups/750ml) to the pan, stir then leave to cook at a simmer for 10min.
- Stir then add the clams, pushing them under the liquid and pasta. Allow them to cook a minute and add the shrimp/prawns and fish as well. After about 5 mins the clams should open and all should be ready.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Bona Fide Foods
Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe, Caroline, but origin of fideuá is in Valencia, not Catalonia.
I'm glad you like the recipe, and I appreciate there is a lot of argument for it being from Valencia, but there is definitely some overlap as well. The important thing, mind you, is to enjoy the dish!
Thanks for the recipe. Delicious. The stock is key!
I agree with Bona Fide. The dish originates from the south of Valencia, originally a variation of arroz a banda. E.g. Pizza is very popular in Rome, but still it is a Napolitan dish:)
Glad you enjoyed, and yes the stock does make a difference. There are definitely differing stories on the origins, but I can understand the Valencia argument since that's where paella and it's variations are from. Either way, it's a delicious dish!
A few years ago we took a paella cooking class in Barcelona. The next day we went up to the mountains to a small Cava vineyard and production facility. The chef there made us Fideua . Quite frankly I like it better than paella. He used squid ink fideos for the noodle base and it was spectacular!
All sounds a great experience! I have lovely memories of visiting cava producers as well, though I didn't ever have fideua there. The squid ink fideos sound yummy, and I agree I often prefer fideua over paella (though a good paella is also pretty special).
Oh my goodness. The pictures alone had my tummy rumbling! This sounds fantastic!
Thanks so much, it really is delicious
So interesting! I would totally do this but without the clams and I very much agree with the homemade stock point but I don't think I could make fish stock in my house! Everybody would move out! God bless you for doing it though. I can't say that I've ever had either a proper paella or a fideua, but I did once have a sopa seca which is I think related . . . I know that it was made using broken spaghetti, a tomato-ey base, and then cheese on top at the end, broiled . . . it was a mexican/hispanic dish and boy was it ever delicious. Yours looks brighter and also healthier and lighter. Beautiful!!!
Thanks, this is indeed fairly healthy (although what you had sounds good too). The stock smell isn't so bad although I can understand the concern!
I've been dying to give this a try for ages - I only came across it during the filming of the Nigel Slater programme, and I was intrigued by the combination of noodles and, well paella. What a lovely reminder to make this!
Thanks Ginger, I hope you give it a try now and enjoy!
Julie is Hostess At Heart
This is crazy but I was with a friend last night and we were talking about paella. He made it some years back outside. He said he never makes it because it's such a large dish. Now I can make it and surprise him. I also just got some saffron from a friend that traveled to Turkey a couple weeks ago. Thank you Caroline for sharing! I agree that homemade stock is the best!
Thanks Julie. What a coincidence! I hope you all enjoy it.
This looks so good. We'll use clam juice if we don't feel like making the stock, but as you demonstrated in the recipe, it's easy enough to do 🙂 Provecho!
Thanks Lydia, yes clam juice would be fine as a substitute although it doesn't have quite the depth of flavor.
This looks so delicious! I am definitely putting this #onthemenu soon! I love the use of pasta instead of rice. The hubs has a love hate with rice.
Thanks Christie, hope you enjoy!
It looks like you and I had the same idea for showcasing paella for this week's FF? Love the different flavors going on. How lucky that you actually lived in Spain; our daughter lived there for 2 years, so we visited her on 3 separate occasions in Malaga, Barcelona and Madrid. Such a warm, beautiful country and people!
Indeed we did Loretta! Well, if something is good 🙂 I agree, lovely place, food and people.
Lynne @ MyGourmetConnection
This is a beautiful dish. I don't know much about Catalan cuisine - thanks for sharing it!
Thanks, Lynne, there are some great Catalan dishes, I hope to make and share more in due course!
Beautiful! I love fideos noodles. So jealous you got to spend that time in Spain!
Thanks Tara, it's a great place, shame it's so far away now!
Lauren @ Sew You Think You Can Cook
Beautiful. I like the idea of pasta instead of rice!
Thanks Lauren, yes it works really well.
Michelle | A Dish of Daily Life
What a delicious dish! We love seafood here so this is sure to be a big hit!
Thanks Michelle! Hope you enjoy!
Serena | Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
This looks absolutely fabulous! I adore seafood!
This is the Italian dish that I order everytime I go to an Italian restaurant! My mouth is watering!! Amazing!!!
Thanks Cathy, yes it's so good Italians have their version too!
Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm
I am drooling away over here Caroline. This looks so incredibly delicious.
Analida's Ethnic Spoon
I love a nice pasta with seafood. This looks fantastic!
Thanks Analida, it's so tasty!
Love this pasta dish. I try in include seafood in our meals at least once a week. Now I have a new recipe to try.
Thanks Faye, I hope you enjoy. We also eat seafood around once a week, always good!
Oh this looks so tasty.....I wish I had some now. I'm trying to eat more seafood. I have a fear of cooking it and ruining it. My hubby would love this.
Thanks Denise, I can understand, I think you just need to stop cooking once seafood is cooked rather than cook too long which is where it can be less good. I hope you give it a try!
Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom
I am not a fish fan at all, but this dish is even tempting me. Such incredible flavor added.
I adore paella and love the look of your pasta version! I bet it tastes incredible!!!
Thanks Liz, yes it's so delicious!
Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere
I love the idea of paella and pasta together. We'll have to give this a try!
Thanks Sarah, I hope you do and enjoy it!