Paella is a dish many people seem to love, as we do, but few rise to the occasion to produce themselves. We are no exception. However, a spark of inspiration was injected into our lives in the summer of 1993 by another exceptional dinner at Valeria's home in Rome. As another physicist with a keen interest in cuisine but wielding a definite edge on bob as an Italian daughter and mom, Valeria learned this dish from her then close collaborator Jesus from Spain, and then served it to us with a follow up recipe transfer by email. We took it very seriously, buying an authentic paella pan and doing the dish a few times before the pan seemed to find its way into retirement hidden above our kitchen cabinets which stop short of the ceiling.
By its very nature, paella is a social dish that is appropriate for serving a group of people. Even in the few restaurants that offer it on their menu, usually two fellow diners at the same table need to agree on both eating the same dish to even order it since the kitchen finds it to be such a hassle to make that they won't go to the trouble for less than two people. The last time bob recalls eating paella out was at the basement level cafeteria in Trump Tower Manhattan, now a sad memory since that retail complex evaporated long ago, but representing the two minimum serving exception.
For dinner at home with a group of friends, this is an excellent choice, being a one-pan meal. No deliberation over what culinary components to fit together. No juggling of competing stovetop activities. Just one big pan and a salad will do. Get the guests to bring the salad (and of course dessert) as we did, and it is even easier. We had a bit of a false start with an attempt to do the paella on the grill (an intriguing idea found from Googling), but although there was clearly more flame there than generated by our two stovetop burners combined, there was two much metal in between the flame and pan, and it was not working, so the dual burner heat source came to the rescue. Indeed this recipe is hard to screw up. We and our guests were very happy. We hope you will be too.
|what valeria said:||what we did:|
|3 c medium grained rice||we used 2.5 c of Goya|
|6 c boiling water (approximately)||we ended up using 6 c|
|olive oil||yes, extra virgin of course|
|1 chicken, cut into bite-size pieces||we used 1.5 lb boneless chicken breast|
|1 rabbit, cut into bite-sized pieces||rabbit, in the USA?|
|we also used 12oz chorizo sausage|
|1 onion, finely chopped|
|2 cloves garlic, pressed|
|2 sweet peppers, finely chopped||1 red, 1 green finely chopped|
|2 c peas||9oz package frozen peas|
|2 c green beans, cut in 1 in lengths||we used haricot verts (thin French variety)|
|1 4 oz jar chopped pimientos|
|1 500g can pelati (peeled Italian tomatoes)||28 oz can, about 750g?|
|soup broth cubes||veggie broth powder, maybe 2-3 t|
|saffron||4 European 12mg packets|