One memory always comes to mind whenever Spain is mentioned. That memory being of the paella dish my father ordered one year when my family holidayed there. The paella arrived in a paella pan, which was seated on a separate side table. The pan was so big that it needed its very own table. The waiter would then serve the paella to my father’s plate, which was enormously high by the time the waiter had finished piling it on. Of course, soon after it had arrived, we came to the conclusion that this particular dish of paella was meant to be shared. But being tourists, we got a little excited and just dived right in to ordering.
I would have been around eight or nine years old at that time, and my eating habits were that of a typical child. On foreign holidays, I would order simple dishes like chicken or spaghetti bolognese for a main course, or safe garlic bread for a starter. However, when the paella was brought to our table, I immediately wished that I had ordered it for myself. The rice was of a fantastic yellow hue. The array of seafood astounded me, encouraging my mouth to water indefinitely. The aromas which drifted from the Spanish dish made me squeal with delight, prompting me to sneak a forkful from my dad’s plate. And boy, was it good.
So today, I decided to make my own paella, complete with prawns, mussels, squid rings and wine. A dish that I would gladly serve again and again.
Ingredients (Serves 4):
- 2 slices pancetta, cubed
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- ½ tsp chilli
- 500g paella rice
- 1 level tsp paprika
- 150ml dry white wine
- 750ml vegetable stock
- Mixed seafood
- 1 can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
- Garlic powder
- Olive oil, for sautéing
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fry the pancetta in a glug of olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan until crisp.
- Add the garlic, onion and pepper, frying until softened.
- Add chilli and rice, stirring until all grains are coated and glossy.
- Add the paprika and wine. Once the wine is bubbling add the stock. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes, continuing to stir.
- Fry the seafood in a separate pan with garlic powder and olive oil. Add the cooked seafood to the paella.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.