It was on this day, decades ago, that my Momma and I celebrated my birthday in Madrid, Spain.
She took me on a magnificent trip to six European countries on our way to her hometown of Treviso, Italy. It was in Madrid where we both fell in love….with Paella. The place was Restaurante Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world, according the Guinness Book of World Records, and to this day, one of the most charming establishments I’ve ever visited. We bought our Paella pan there and have loved making this authentic Spanish dish ever since. If you’re in the mood to party, a Paella Party (with plenty of Sangria to wash it down!) can be a very tasteful get-together!
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped fine
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 pound calamari, cut into rings
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 12 raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 pound Spanish chorizo, cut into small pieces
- 12 fresh mussels, cleaned
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 cups fish broth (Can be made with “Better Than Bouillon Seafood Paste”)
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads or powder
- 1 cup uncooked Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 large lemon, sliced into wedges
- Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Chop onion fine. Dice red bell pepper. Slice calamari into thin rings. Heat a paella pan with a medium-high heat and add in 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil. After 1 minute season the olive oil with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Add the calamari and cook for 2 minutes then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the garlic and onions to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and continue to sauté until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, smoked paprika ½ tsp salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate and then cook for 2 minutes or until the tomato sauce has thickened. Add the calamari back into the pan and stir. Add the fish broth and bring to a boil. Add Carnaroli or Arborio rice, mix well and cook for 20 minutes. Add the shrimp and mussels, and cook for another 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium low, and simmer until the broth has been absorbed by the rice and the rice is tender. Return the heat to medium high, stir the mixture once and then leave it undisturbed to achieve the socarrat. (Socorrat in paella is the thin layer of toasted rice that sticks to the bottom of the pan. The rice should smell toasted, make a crackling sound.) After 5 minutes, garnish the paella with lemon wedges and finely chopped parsley.
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