Arroz con Cosas

Chef Katie Button's recipe for Arroz con Cosas (which translates to "rice with things") is a great way to use up any extra vegetables you have on hand, whether it's summer squash or turnips, in an easy and flexible, Spanish-style rice dish. She lets the rice be the star of this dish with the socorrat, the prized crispy coating that forms on rice at the bottom of the pan. Button serves the finished dish with a drizzle of homemade allioli that adds garlicky nuances to each bite.

Active Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins


For the sofrito:

  • 1 ½ pounds medium-size ripe red tomatoes (any variety)

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other neutral-flavored oil

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onions

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

For the allioli:

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 clove garlic, smashed

  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 cup arbequina olive oil, or 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil, such as grapeseed oil

For the arroz: 

  • 1 ½ tablespoons grapeseed oil or other neutral-flavored oil

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 small cooked chicken legs, 4 cooked sausage links (about 1 pound), 12 large peeled and deveined shrimp, or other left-over protein

  • 6 ounces assorted vegetables, such as summer squash, asparagus, turnips cut into wedges, torn mushrooms, and sliced bell peppers

  • A splash of sherry

  • 4 ¼ cups chicken, vegetable, or beef stock (use the broth that matches your protein, or use chicken or vegetable broth for all choices)

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 ½ cups short-grain paella rice, such as Bomba or Calasparra

  • Chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, parsley, oregano, or thyme


Make the sofrito:

  1. Cut tomatoes in half crosswise. Place a box grater in a large bowl. Grate tomatoes, cut side against the coarse side of the grater, until only the skin remains; discard skin. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of grated tomatoes with juices. Set aside.

  2. In a large skillet, heat grapeseed and olive oils over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until deep golden brown, adding more oil if onions are sticking, about 15 minutes. Mix garlic into onions.

  3. Add grated tomato and cook, stirring occasionally at first, then often during the last 15 minutes or so, until all the liquid has evaporated, mixture is reduced by 3/4 and is deeply red and caramelized, and you begin to see a separation of oil from the vegetables, 30 to 40 minutes. Add a splash of water to skillet to loosen any bits from the bottom of the pan and stir until evaporated. Let cool.

  4. Set 3 tablespoons sofrito aside for arroz. Divide remaining sofrito into smaller portions in freezer-safe containers or an ice cube tray. Refrigerate or freeze for later use.

Make the allioli:

  1. In a food processor, process egg, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to blend. With the machine running, gradually add oil, processing until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to a small bowl.

Make the arroz:

  1. In a large skillet, heat grapeseed and olive oils over medium-high. Add protein and cook, stirring or turning occasionally, until browned, 3 to 8 minutes, depending on the protein; transfer to a plate. Add vegetables, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes; add to plate.

  2. Add sofrito to skillet and cook until heated through, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add sherry and stir, scraping up browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add stock. Season generously with salt, bring to a simmer, and stir in rice.

  3. Bring stock to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes (do not stir rice). Add protein to skillet, arranging it evenly over rice. Continue cooking (do not stir) until rice starts to come to the surface of the stock, the edges are foamy, and it begins to make a crackling sound, about 5 minutes. Add vegetables and herbs to skillet, spreading evenly over the top of the rice. Reduce heat to low and cook until rice is al dente, edges are darkened, and rice smells very toasty, about 5 minutes more. Remove skillet from heat, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

    Arroz con cosas
    Whitney Anderson
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