Sopa Seca // Peruvian Criollo Pasta
Sopa Seca is a traditional dish found in Chincha, Ica. The name of the dish literally means “dry soup” which doesn’t sound very appetizing. However, the dish is actually a delicious one-pot pasta dish made with dry noodles, chicken, vegetables and spices. You will almost never find it served alone – it is the complimentary dish to Carapulcra Chinchana.
The Italians reached the Peruvian shores in 1840 as they were trying to escape the poverty brought on by Napoleon’s conquest of Italy. They came with the hope of striking it rich from the guano and arrived to the estates of Chincha. With them came pasta, minestrone, empanadas, pastel de acelga, and panettone bread. Chincha, Ica is a province located south of Lima which is characterized by the large number of black descendants, but in actuality combines many different cultures of the world like Spanish, Indians, blacks, coolies and Italians, giving well a wide range of flavors and influences in the meals from the area.
The union of Carapulcra Chinchana and Sopa Seca is similar to marriage between two people from different neighborhoods. One specializes in Carapulcra, one in Sopa Seca and the combination of the two on one plate is what brings about perfection.
Believe me, the idea of eating a potato stew along with pasta seemed like a crazy idea to me too. But somehow this just works. I quite like the pasta dish on it’s own and even though it is said to “always” be eaten together…I confess that here, I think both dishes are equally good and can fill a plate all on their own.
Sopa Seca is part of the 101 Reasons to Eat in Peru series.
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken breast
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons finely diced onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup finely diced tomato (peeled and deseeded)
- 1/4 cup basil puree
- 1 tablespoon aji panca paste
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 aji amarillo peppers, julienned
- 1 cup fresh butter beans
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 500 grams linguini or spaghetti, broken in half
- 4 cups chicken broth
- In a medium saucepan, cover chicken with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and reserve chicken.
- In a deep sauté pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, salt and sugar. Sauté until golden in color, about 5 minutes. To the onions, add tomato, basil puree, aji panca paste and black pepper. Sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring to combine.
- Add the aji amarillo peppers, butter beans and parsley to the mixture, stirring to coat. Add in dry noodles and broth, stirring gently to coat with sauce.
- Turn heat down to a low heat, cover, and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until broth has just been absorbed. Remove from heat.
- Serve with Carapulcra Chinchana.
- To make the basil paste, I combined 1 cup of basil leaves with 1/4 cup of water in the blender until paste-like.
- If you cannot find fresh butter beans, use lima beans. They are from the same family, just slightly smaller.