One of my fondest childhood memories is from one summer in the 90’s, where my brother and I were on vacation from school, and my grandmother, who was visiting from Mexico, got to take care of us while my parents worked. I remember that summer so vividly for many reasons. Among those reasons was the fact that for lunch, every single day she’d make us a sopita (diminutive for soup). She’d ask me to choose between the stars, alphabet, elbows, fideos, or shell shaped pasta. More often than not, I would choose the alphabet because I loved spelling my name with each letter I found as I ate.
In a matter of minutes she’d whipped it up and I was enjoying a bowl of my favorite soup. Now that I’m a mom I find it so easy and convenient to make these types of soups for my kids. They’re super inexpensive (about .33 to .44 cents a package) and easy to make. These were basically one of the first solid foods they got to eat as babies and to this day they enjoy them greatly. Honestly, I think that about every Mexican grew up eating these throughout their childhood. At least in my house I know they were a staple growing up. Now my kids have this as a meal at least once a week. Although mine don’t have the special touch my grandmother gave hers, I’d like to believe that she’s looking down on me whenever I make them with a smile of approval.
These go great by themselves or can be accompanied by a quesadilla or even a grilled cheese sandwich. You can combine two types of pastas or just make it all the same (I combine two of them usually because my kids can never agree on just one). They can be plain or you can add some diced zucchini and/or peas and carrots. It’s really up to you. That’s what I love about Mexican cuisine, it’s either as simple as you want it to be or as complex as you’d like to make it.
- 2 Roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 1/2 an onion
- 1 package La Moderna pasta product of your choice or if combining two than 1/2 of each package.(You can find these at Kroger or Walmart in the Hispanic section)
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
- Water (amount depending on how runny or thick you want the soup)
- Salt or Knorr Tomato Bouillon with Chicken Flavor to taste
- Put both the tomatoes and the onion in a blender until well pureed. Set sauce aside and next to stove.
- In a 4 qt. or larger pot heat the vegetable oil in medium to low heat. Once warm enough add in the pasta. Stir the pasta continually until a light golden color is achieved. You must stir continually or else it’ll burn! This usually takes no more than 3-4 minutes.
- Once pasta is light-medium golden color stir in the pureed sauce. Let it cook for about a minute.
- Add water. I usually add about 8-10 cups of water because my kids like it a little more on the liquidy side. Plus when it starts to boil the water reduces so I make sure there’s enough water for it to be “soupy” even after the reduction.
- Add in the salt or the Knorr Tomato Bouillon to taste. My kids like it a little on the “tomatoey” side so I prefer to add the granulated bouillon until I get that taste.
- Once it starts to boil, cover and let it simmer on low-medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until pasta has a tender consistency.
You can serve it with a squirt of lime (my personal favorite) or a dollop of sour cream. You could even add cilantro to it while it simmers, but of course my kids have a panic attack whenever they see anything green floating in their soup, so I leave that out. It’s great for either lunch or dinner. I usually make this on the days I’ll be making fish for dinner- since they don’t like fish. More fish for us!!
This is how I was taught to make it but I’m sure if you ask other Hispanic and Latino families they will have their own unique “touch” to it, but in the end we can all agree that this is a kid-approved meal. I hope you enjoy!
“Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever.”-Anonymous.
In loving memory of my Grandma Irene.