In Spain and Mexico, this style of soup is called fideos ("thin noodle") and can be very brothy, like this version, or almost dry (the dry version is called sopa seca). Toasting the pasta gives it richness and a nice chew. This recipe is a good choice if you have a lot of family visiting during the holidays, since it doesn't suffer from being doubled or even tripled.
About 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 ounces angel hair pasta or coiled fideos, broken into about 2-in. lengths
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large pinch saffron threads (optional)
1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound Spanish chorizo or andouille sausages, halved lengthwise and sliced thickly
2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 pound medium shrimp (36 to 42 per lb.), deveined; or shelled clams
1/4 cup chopped flat-leafed parsley
How to Make It
Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large wide pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, covered, until starting to soften, 5 minutes. Add pasta and more oil if it looks dry, then toast over medium-high heat, turning constantly with tongs, until golden. Add garlic and saffron (if using), tomatoes and tomato paste, sausages, and broth.
Boil pasta in soup, uncovered, until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes.
Add shrimp and cook just until pink and curled, about 1 minute. Season with salt to taste and stir in parsley.