Paella is a Spanish rice dish loaded with ingredients that can range from seafood to vegetables. And don't be fooled by those bright yellow options served at your local restaurant. The real thing is darker, richer and dense than a typical rice dish. "A real paella is infused with smoky flavor, which is why traditional Spanish cooks almost always make the dish outside over a large fire," chef Seamus Mullen says. Those cooks also use a paellera—a shallow wide pan—and always start the dish off by sautéeing sofrito in oil. Once the rice is added, they leave it alone to cook without stirring. If you want to learn the traditional way to make paella, turn to Food & Wine's guide for recipes, tips and techniques.

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Seafood-and-Chicken Paella with Chorizo

Rating: Unrated
At her restaurant, Brasa, pork-loving chef Tamara Murphy makes her own chorizo for the excellent paella on her menu. As for the seafood in the dish, she breaks with tradition by sautéing the shrimp and steaming the mussels and clams before adding them to the paella during the last few minutes of cooking; this keeps the seafood moist and delicious. More Paella Recipes

Sardinian-Style Paella

Rating: Unrated
Fregola, the pearl-size Sardinian pasta that is quite similar to couscous, makes a terrific substitute for rice in this paella-style dish; it soaks up a lot of the cooking liquid from the seafood, tomato and chorizo stew and still stays nicely chewy. For such an impressive main course, it can be prepared surprisingly quickly. More Paella Recipes

A Lesson in Spanish Tapas

At New York City’s Boqueria, chef Seamus Mullen creates exceptional tapas and small plates. F&W simplifies and supersizes his best recipes.