A quick and easy recipe for Sopa de Pasta, a classic Mexican soup

Never underestimate the importance of soup.  In Mexico, no midday meal is complete without it.  If you haven’t had soup before your main course then you haven’t eaten a proper dinner!

Quick And Easy Mexican Sopa De Pasta Recipe - Classic Pasta Soup

I’m going to introduce you here to one of the staples of Mexican home cooking; a soup that can probably be found in most Mexican homes at least once a week, and probably every single day of the week in most cocinas económicas (simple restaurants or takeaway places where you can buy very reasonably priced meals – very handy for when you haven’t had time to cook or don’t have time to go home for dinner. They are generally only open for the midday meal and have a limited selection, maybe two or three options to choose from that may vary from day to day.)  It’s supposed to be an ideal meal for children; simple and nourishing and not at all spicy. It is so basic it’s in danger of being overlooked and totally underestimated.

It’s the humble sopa de pasta -  pasta soup.

You may also find it called sopa de fideo (the most common kind), sopa de letras, sopa de municiones, sopa de estrellitas, or another name according to the shape of the pasta being used.

That may not sound very Mexican to you, but don’t be fooled!  It’s may have European origins but it is now totally engrained in Mexican food culture.  You’re not likely to find it on the menu in a fancy restaurant, though.  Where you will find it is on the table in millions of ordinary homes all over Mexico and imprinted on the food memories of millions of Mexicans, indelibly associated with their mothers’ or grandmothers’ home cooking.

As I mentioned, it’s one of those dishes that is always given to children, and when properly made it is very nourishing and warm and comforting.  It is so simple and cheap to make, which is also why it’s so popular.  Probably every home has their own version, their own tweaks and twists on the basic recipe.  The key, I think is in frying the pasta first.  If you don’t do this first, your soup is just going to be a bit rubbish.

Quick And Easy Mexican Sopa De Pasta Recipe - Classic Pasta Soup

Here’s the recipe:


1 200g packet of small pasta – vermicelli, alphabet pasta, little stars, etc.  as long as the pasta is small it’s okay.
1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 litres (approx) of liquid – ideally chicken broth, but if not, just water will do
3 medium sized tomatoes
¼ onion
1 or 2 cloves garlic
2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes, or 2 tsps powdered chicken or vegetable stock
Sprig of parsley

How to make it

Put the tomatoes in enough water to cover them and cook for a few minutes until soft.  Roughly chop the onion and garlic and sauté in as little oil as possible until slightly browned. Put the tomatoes with the onion and garlic in a blender with some of the liquid and blend until smooth.

In a large pan, heat the oil and add the dry pasta.  Keep stirring it over a medium heat until all the pasta is a dark golden brown.  It should be a darker brown than you think, but don’t let it burn!  It’s very important to keep stirring the pasta to keep the colour as even as possible and make sure it doesn’t burn – lower the heat if necessary.

When the pasta is a deep golden brown all over, add the blended tomato mixture and keep stirring for a couple of minutes, then add the rest of the liquid, whether that is water or chicken broth.  Add the stock cubes and the sprig of parsley and bring to the boil. Simmer on a low heat with the lid on for approximately ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

The soup is ready when the pasta is cooked.

Let me know if you try this recipe or maybe you know a different version of it.  What’s your favourite soup?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Try another classic Mexican soup with this recipe: Sopa de Tortilla / Sopa Azteca

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  1. This sounds so yummy! I'm going to make it this week. #GlobalBlogging

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