This Instant Pot sopa seca with chorizo and black beans uses the convenience of your multicooker to transform the Mexican specialty of toasted pasta in spicy tomato sauce into a weeknight winner.
Traditional versions of this vibrant one-pot pasta dish—in which thin strands of fideos pasta are toasted until golden and then cooked in a tasty broth until the broth has reduced to a thick sauce—are a popular Mexican specialty.
We started by creating a robust sofrito of onion, bell pepper, and Mexican chorizo. Thanks to the intense heat of the sauté function, we were able to lightly toast the pasta in this flavorful mixture before stirring in chipotle chile in adobo sauce, tomato paste, and minced garlic. Next, we stirred in a measured amount of chicken broth along with black beans for added protein. In just 1 minute under pressure, the pasta was al dente and the liquid nearly absorbed. We gave the still-hot pot a quick stir (and also threw in halved cherry tomatoes) and a brief rest to enable the pasta to finish cooking gently and the sauce to thicken.
To complement the deep, earthy, spicy flavors of the pasta, we finished with an array of fresh, tangy garnishes—chopped avocado, crumbled cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges. You can substitute traditional spaghetti for the whole wheat spaghetti; however, do not substitute other pasta shapes. Be sure to use fresh Mexican chorizo here, not the semi-cured Spanish or Portuguese versions.–America’s Test Kitchen
Sopa Seca FAQs
If you’re unable to source Mexican chorizo, you can make do with either mild or hot Italian sausage, or even spicy breakfast sausage.
The difference is the spice combination. Spanish chorizo is made with garlic and pimentón (Spanish paprika) while Mexican chorizo is seasoned with vinegar and chile peppers. Spanish chorizo is deep red and has a more smoky flavor than Mexican.
Onions contain amino acids that are released when their flesh is damaged – hence the eye-watering. To prevent this, you have a few options. You can use eye protection like goggles (very fashionable) – even contact lenses can block the acids. Next, try using a very sharp knife for your slicing, as a dull one tends to smoosh rather than slice, causing more damage to the onion and releasing more of the water-works. Chilling your onions prior to slicing can help as well. Just keep them in the fridge or pop them into a bowl of ice water for a bit.
Instant Pot Sopa Seca with Chorizo and Black Beans
- 8 ounces 100% whole wheat spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium (7 oz) onion chopped
- 1 medium (5 oz) green bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 4 ounces Mexican-style chorizo sausage casings removed
- 2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade tomato paste
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup canned chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- One (15-ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 avocado halved, pitted, and cut into 1-inch (25-mm) pieces
- 1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) cotija cheese crumbled
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges for serving
- Loosely wrap half of the pasta in a dish towel, then press the bundle against the corner of the counter to break the noodles into 1- to 2-inch lengths (2.5- to 5-cm); repeat with remaining pasta.
- Pour the oil into the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Select the sauté function and heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper, and chorizo and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the chipotle, tomato paste, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Stir in the broth and water, scraping up any browned bits, then stir in the beans. Press cancel.
- Lock the lid into place and close the pressure-release valve. Select the high pressure-cook function and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the Instant Pot and quick-release the pressure. Carefully remove the lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
- Stir the tomatoes into the pasta mixture. Partially cover the pot and let sit until the pasta is tender and the sauce is thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle individual portions with avocado, cotija, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is an excellent weeknight dish that comes together quickly. It is incredibly flavorful and the avocado and cotija cheese adds nice texture and saltiness. The lime wedges and cilantro are necessary to cut through the fattiness and spice. I served it with lightly grilled corn tortillas and an amber lager beer.
Between the depth of flavor and the ease of this recipe, this Instant Pot sopa seca with chorizo and black beans is a winner. None of the flavors, from the sofrito to the chipotle and tomatoes, got lost. And the pasta cooked perfectly (I was skeptical.) Adding the beans was a nice touch as they added some bulk and creaminess. The chipotle added just the right amount of heat (but I would add more next time!)
It’s a filling dish but one of those you don’t want to stop eating! I found the recipe itself to be clear and straightforward, with no trouble spots. Despite it’s taking only one minute under pressure, the whole recipe from start to finish took me an hour but my kitchen sure smelled wonderful.
My only adjustment would be to increase the chorizo by another 50% to 100% of what was called for. And I will be making this again!
Originally published April 19, 2022