Paella in a Pinch

The first time I went to Barcelona, I was still a really picky eater. Paella were flowing from table to table endlessly and I wouldn’t even try it. Thank goodness I’ve broken that curse of picky eating because every trip back to my second family I get to enjoy one of my now favorite dishes. This recipe is adapted from my host mother to use whatever was affordable at the fish market (had to unfortunately leave out the muscles this time around). Serves 4.

What You’ll Need:

  • Arborio Rice (4 handfuls + one for the table)

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 cup peas (I used frozen because season is ending)

  • 200 grams fresh shrimp

  • 200 grams fresh calamari (ask fisherman to clean and slice for you if you want)

  • saffron (let bloom in olive oil as soon as you start cooking)

  • salt

  • olive oil

  • 1/2 glass white wine

  • 1 tsp tomato paste

  • 2 shallots, minced


Rub the shrimp and calamari with a little salt and fresh herbs. I would use tarragon. On medium heat, preferably in a cast-iron skillet or proper paella pan…neither of which I have, cook the shrimp and calamari by lightly searing them in the olive oil until almost cooked. do not overcook! they will cook together with the rice later. Remove from the pan. In the same pan with same oil, sauté the diced shallots on low heat. This is not meant to brown the shallots, but to make them transparent and release their flavor. Add the diced pepper and peas to the pan and toss with the oil and shallots. Bring up the heat and add the rice, toasting it with the olive oil. Add the white wine on high heat and let reduce by half. Mix in the spoon of tomato paste. Reduce heat and add water one ladle at a time, letting the water cook off and evaporate in between until rice is cooked. Once the rice is almost fully cooked, add the fish to the top, and drizzle the saffron-infused olive oil over top. Let cook another minute or two. Buon appetito!

Alyssa D'AdamoComment