Made with only 5 simple ingredients, Mexican Sopita, or Sopa de Conchas is comfort food at it's best. Easy to prepare, subtly flavored with chicken broth, tomato sauce, and onion, this mexican soup with shell pasta is a delicious noodle dish.
If you are looking for a dish that is simple to make but full of flavor, look no further. Sopa de Conchas reminds me of an elevated version of Spaghettios, as it also features small noodles cooked in a tomato based broth. But don't be fooled, sopita is so much better. By browning the noodles first and adding in sauteed onion for flavor, this noodle soup-like meal is amazing with a capital A.
These are honestly my favorite types of dishes to make. Ones that are classics to the culture from which they come. That are tweaked from family to family. Similar to italian wedding soup or chicken pastina is to italian culture, Mexican sopita will mean something different to each family. This recipe I am sharing is pretty much as bare bones as it comes, so feel free to adjust as you see fit.
After this recipe, try another classic, Refried Beans in the Instant Pot.
Some recipes call for fresh roma tomatoes that are blended, many use chicken bouillon cubes and water instead of chicken broth, some have meat, such as cooked ground beef, and some have veggies. There truly is a wide variety of what "sopita" means to each person.
This version is in the middle of the spectrum as far as "soupiness" goes. You can add more broth and tomato sauce to it if you prefer it to be a more true soup like dish.
Why brown the pasta?
You will see here that you brown the pasta in olive oil first. If you have never browned your pasta before, you may be wondering why? Well it adds a lovely nuttiness to the flavor of the dish! It only takes a few extra minutes (You can cook it alongside your diced onions), but it adds a great layer of flavor that is totally worth the little but of effort.
Ingredients in Sopa de Conchas
While this can vary a great deal from family to family, here what you will need for the simplest form of this dish. It is only 5 ingredients.
- Small shell pasta
- olive oil
- chicken broth
- tomato sauce
How to make Mexican Sopita
Dice up yellow onion finely.
In a medium saucepan add olive and warm over medium heat. Add in uncooked pasta shells and diced onion.
Cook for 5-6 minutes until the pasta has browned and the onions have softened. Make sure to keep stirring to avoid burning.
Add in broth and tomato sauce and stir. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the pasta is cooked through and has soaked up the majority of the broth.
Serve as is or garnish with desired toppings.
How to Garnish
Just like the ingredients in sopa de conchas can vary a lot, the garnishes on top can too! A classic topping is shaker parmesan cheese (the kind with the green top) and lime, but there are lots of other ways to serve as well.
- parmesan cheese
- fresh lime juice
- queso fresco
- sour cream
Variations of Mexican Sopita
You can use this recipe for any of the following, simply swapping in the pasta shape of your choice. Mexican soups are also called sopa aguadas or brothy soups.
- Sopa de Conchas (or Sopa de Conchitas) (for shell pasta)
- Sopa de Fideo (for angel hair pasta)
- Sopa de Estrella (for stelline or star pasta, like you would see in pastina)
- Sopa de Codos (for elbow pasta)
Veggies to add
If you want to take this comfort food up a notch and add in some veggies, try one of the following. I like to cut them up finely to match the size of the shell pasta.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Note that the pasta will continue to soak up the tomato broth the longer it sits, so the sopita will become less liquidy when enjoyed as leftovers. Sometimes I add a dash of chicken broth when reheating.
Mexican Sopita (Sopa de Conchas)
- 2 cups dry small shell pasta
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 ½ cups chicken broth
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 1 small onion diced
- Dice up yellow onion finely.
- In a medium saucepan add olive and warm over medium heat. Add in uncooked pasta shells and diced onion.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes until the pasta has browned and the onions have softened. Make sure to keep stirring to avoid burning.
- Add in broth and tomato sauce and stir. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the pasta is cooked through and has soaked up the majority of the broth.
- Serve as is or garnish with desired toppings.