Paella originated along the southeastern coast of Spain and refers to the pan it is cooked in. It’s believed the dish came from the city of Valencia and combines Roman and Arab cultures. Many variations of paella exist, some adding more vegetables or other kinds of seafood. The classic seasoning is saffron, an expensive, red spice that comes from the saffron crocus flower. Saffron flavor is hard to describe, though it is subtle and slightly sweet. Paella was first cooked over fires by farm laborers who used regionally grown rice with many different ingredients. Some claim true Valencian paella is not made with seafood but is a mixture of chicken, rabbit, and snails with green and white beans.
Recipe Servings: 4
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 5 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste or finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- ½ tsp sugar
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- Good pinch of saffron threads
- 4 cleaned small squid, bodies sliced into ¼-inch-wide rings, tentacles left whole
- 2 cups medium-grain spanish paella rice or risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
- 3 cups fish or chicken stock, plus more if needed
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 12 jumbo shrimp in their shells
- 16 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- Cook onions in the oil until soft in a 16-inch paella pan, about 5–8 minutes, stirring often.
- Add garlic and before it changes color add tomatoes.
- Add sugar, salt, pimentón or paprika, and saffron. Stir well.
- Cook until tomatoes are reduced and jam-like in consistency and oil sizzles.
- Add squid and cook about 1 minute. Add rice and stir well until grains are coated.
- Bring stock and wine to a boil in a separate small pan and then pour over rice mixture.
- Bring mixture to a boil and add salt. (Even if broth tastes salty it will be absorbed by rice.)
- Stir well and spread rice evenly in pan. Do not stir again when cooking.
- Cook on low heat 18–20 minutes, moving pan around and rotating so rice cooks evenly.
- Lay shrimp on top after 10 minutes of cooking and turn them over when pink on one side.
- Add more hot stock toward end of cooking if rice seems too dry and crackly frying noise is heard.
- When rice is done turn off heat and cover pan with large piece of foil.
- In pan with tight-fitting lid, steam mussels with about ½-inch water. When they open they are done. Discard any mussels that do not open.
- Arrange mussels on top of paella and serve.
Recipe introduction and directions © Copyright 2016-2023 World Trade Press. All rights reserved.