Garden Paella

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Bomba rice is a short-grain rice from Spain traditionally used in paella for the best texture. Choose a carbon steel pan for even distribution of heat while cooking this paella; you’ll be less likely to encounter hot spots and burn the vegetables.

Garden Paella
Photo: David Malosh
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
Yield:
6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 2 small zucchini, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 2 cups)

  • 1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, divided

  • Pinch of saffron threads (about 1/8 teaspoon)

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jarred roasted piquillo peppers (about 2 ounces)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot pimentón, or more to taste

  • 2 1/4 cups uncooked Bomba rice (about 15 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish

  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 15-inch carbon steel paella pan over medium-high. Add zucchini and eggplant. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and just starting to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a plate; set aside.

  2. While zucchini mixture is cooking, microwave 2 tablespoons water in a small microwavable bowl on high until hot, about 30 seconds. Crumble saffron threads into hot water; let stand until ready to use, about 10 minutes.

  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato. Cook, stirring often, until tomato breaks down and begins to caramelize, 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. Stir in piquillo peppers, pimentón, saffron mixture, and remaining 3 teaspoons salt until well combined. Add rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until well coated and very lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in zucchini mixture, wine, parsley, and remaining 3 cups water until combined. Spread mixture in an even layer. Transfer pan to preheated oven. Bake until liquid is absorbed, rice is tender, and top is lightly browned, 34 to 38 minutes.

  5. Return pan to stovetop over medium-low. Cook, occasionally rotating pan over burner for even browning, until rice smells faintly nutty and you hear a constant crackling sound, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley, and serve with lemon wedges.

Notes

Find high-quality Kashmiri saffron at kalustyans.com.

Suggested Pairing

Darkly fruity, earthy Tinta de Toro.

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