Who isn’t always looking for fresh, new ways to cook that workhorse of the kitchen, the skinless chicken thigh? That’s why I was intrigued by a recipe in October’s Food and Wine Magazine that was said to be “Spanish-inspired pasta”. First of all, although no authority on Spanish cuisine, I had to wonder about pasta being authentic to Spain. And the research I did backed me up. There is really only one ‘pasta’ that is cooked with any frequency in Spain. And wouldn’t you know it’s used in making Fideuá, which is very similar to paella only Fideuá substitutes a noodle about the size of spaghetti for the rice in every other paella. There’s a interesting piece of folk history about how this substitution of noodles for rice happened. According to what I read, Fideuá was first created by a cook onboard a fishing boat. Joan Batiste Pascual, better known as Zabalo, made many a meal of paella. The skipper of the vessel he worked on in 1915 loved rice and would always eat so much of it that the crew never got their fair share. So in order to stop the skipper from eating everyone else’s portion, Zabalo decided to substitute pasta for rice. Unfortunately for the rest of the fisherman, his plan didn't go too well. The captain devoured the pasta with as much gusto as he did rice so Zabolo’s plan was thwarted. But he is still a hometown hero. His village, Safor, holds a Fideuá cooking competition each year.
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