This paella for two recipe provides the opportunity to prepare any of three kinds of paella - mixta (a mix of meat and seafood), marisco (seafood), and vegetariana (vegetarian). The process for each kind is basically the same: Prepare the sofrito of onion, tomato, and garlic. Then, add chicken, seafood or vegetables, and rice. Simmer in broth until rice is done, and let rest for 5 minutes.
The ingredient list below starts with those items that all three kinds of paella have in common, like onion, saffron, and rice. Then, ingredient options for mixta, marisco and vegetariana are listed separately. Use the ingredients as listed, mix and match, or create your own combination. Every family in Spain has their own version of paella, so why shouldn't you?
- Ingredients in All Paellas:
- 2 to 4 cups broth (chicken, fish or vegetable broth)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil (Spanish)
- 1/2 small onion (yellow or white, diced)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1/2 tomato (diced)
- 5 to 7 oz. "bomba" rice (or medium grain rice, such as Calrose)
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- Optional: 1/2 cup frozen peas
- Salt to taste
- Optional: 1 lemon
- Mixta Ingredient Options
- 2 chicken drumsticks or thighs
- 1/4 lb. pork loin (fat trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 1 calamari (squid)
- 4 small clams, such as venus or manila (frozen or fresh)
- 4 raw shrimp (medium or large, shell on)
- 1/4 sweet bell pepper
- Seafood Ingredient Options
- 2 calamari (squid)
- 4 raw mussels in shell (frozen or fresh)
- 6 small clams, such as venus or manila (frozen or fresh)
- 6 to 8 raw shrimp (medium or large, shell on)
- 1/4 sweet bell pepper
- Vegetarian Ingredient Options
- 1 artichoke (trimmed and cut into quarters)
- 1/4 medium eggplant (cubed)
- 1/2 green or red bell pepper (sliced into strips)
- 1/2 can white beans (rinsed)
Prepare the Ingredients
Have all of the vegetables and meat prepared as instructed in ingredient list.
Heat the broth over medium-low heat until warm.
Cook the Sofrito
Place the paella or frying pan on medium heat and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom.
When the pan is hot enough, sauté the onions, garlic, and tomatoes in the olive oil, stirring often until onions are translucent.
Cook Other Ingredients
Mixta: Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Add the pork loin and sauté to brown on all sides. Then add squid and cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often.
Seafood: Add squid and cook, stirring often for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Vegetarian: Add the artichoke, eggplant and bell pepper and lightly sauté. Vegetables should still be firm.
Cook the Rice and Finish
Add the rice, sprinkling in the form of a cross on the pan. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes to thoroughly coat the rice with oil.
Crush the saffron threads between your fingers, and add to the warm broth. Slowly pour broth into the paella pan until ingredients are covered. Spread meat and vegetables evenly over bottom of the pan.
Mixta and Seafood: After adding broth, arrange mussels (for seafood version) around outside edge of the pan, pointing up. Place clams and shrimp in the pan, spreading out evenly. Add slices of pepper on top.
Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. If the liquid is absorbed but rice isn't tender, add more broth and continue simmering. If using peas, sprinkle over the top when rice is almost cooked. If making vegetarian, add the white beans.
When rice is cooked, season to taste with salt, remove from heat and cover with aluminum foil or large tea towel. This allows the paella to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Slice lemon, if using, into wedges and serve alongside paella.