How to make it

  • This paella is good when served with lemon wedges, but it's even better when spread with a bit of alioli, a garlic mayonnaise that is the Spanish version of the French aioli. To make alioli, add a few cloves of chopped garlic and a large pinch of salt to a mini-food processor (or a mortar), process (or pound with a pestle) until very fine, and then slowly drizzle in olive oil to make a thick, mayonnaise-like consistency. Add lemon juice to taste, and process again.
  • In a medium saucepan, boil 3 1/2 cups of salted water. Add the shrimp shells and simmer, covered, for about 10 min. Strain the broth, and return it to the saucepan. Toast the saffron gently (in a dry skillet or toaster oven), crush the threads with the back of a spoon, and add to the shrimp shell broth. Taste for salt; the broth should be well-seasoned.
  • In a 14-inch paella pan or wide skillet, heat the oil on high. Meanwhile, pat dry the shrimp and scallops (or calamari). When the oil is hot, sauté the shrimp and scallops until almost cooked through, about 2 min. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the sausage links and brown. Cut the sausages into slices and set aside. Drain out excess oil but don’t clean the pan. Pour out all but 1 Tbs. of oil from the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion softens, about 5 min. Add the tomato, season with salt, and sauté until the mixture, called the sofrito, has darkened (caramelizes) and is a thick purée, 10 to 15 min. Season with salt, black pepper, and paprika.
  • Meanwhile, bring the shrimp shell broth back to a simmer. When the tomato-onion sofrito is ready, add the rice to the pan. Sauté until the rice loses its opaqueness, about 1 min. Increase the heat to medium-high. Pour in 3 cups of the simmering broth (reserving the remaining 1/2 cup) and stir or shake the pan to evenly distribute the rice in the pan. As the liquid comes to a boil, arrange the mussels or clams in the pan, submerging them as much as possible below the level of the liquid. From this point on, do not stir the rice.
  • Cook the paella on medium-high, rotating and moving the pan over one or two burners to distribute the heat. When the rice begins to appear above the liquid, after 8 to 10 min., reduce the heat to medium low. Continue to simmer, rotating the pan as necessary, until the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 min. more. Taste a grain of rice just below the top layer; it should be al dente. (If the rice is not done but all the liquid has been absorbed, sprinkle a bit of hot broth to the pan and cook a few minutes more.) Arrange the shrimp and scallops (or calamari) in the pan. Add the shellfish and the sausage. Simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente and the mussels/clams have opened. (Do not eat any mussels/clams that do not open.) Scatter the peas on top and continue to cook until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook gently for another 2 min. to help ensure that the top layer of rice is evenly cooked. With the foil still in place, increase the heat to medium-high and, rotating the pan, cook for about 2 min., until the bottom layer of rice starts to caramelize, creating the socarrat. The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat. The rice may crackle somewhat, but if it starts burning, remove the pan from the heat immediately.
  • Let the paella rest off the heat, still covered, for 5 min.
  • Bring the pan to the table for presentation and enjoy!
  • This recipe is a compilation of various recipes that I have tried and it tastes good. It also works well with chicken and rabbit.

Reviews & Comments 3

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  • petiteflu 14 years ago
    Made this and it was wonderful. But there are two mistakes in the recipe. Please, just 1 1/2 cups of rice. And the shellfish is added twice. Scratch out the first one and do only the second time it instructs you to add mussels or clams. Once that's straightened out, this is one of the best paellas we've ever had. Also, although the onion and tomatoe are grated, they turn into mush. This is not a mistake!!! Also you can add them together for the sofrito stage. If you use a 15" paella pan, the final steps are considerably shortened since the rice cooks faster. It is worth all the fuss.
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  • lincolntoot 15 years ago
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  • deedeec 15 years ago
    Love Paella! You are right, it never fails to impress and is easy to make, but you wouldn't know it! My husband thinks I'm a gourmet chef becuase I make this for him! LOL... That's okay, it'll just be our little secret ;)
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