Mixed Vegetable Paella

To develop the socarrat, the crispy crust of rice that’s so integral to classic paella, check the edges with a spoon or offset spatula as it cooks. Once the stock is almost fully absorbed by the rice, begin checking more frequently; it can quickly go from golden brown to scorched. Take a cue from chef Peter Lee and serve the paella with grilled lemon wedges and on-the-vine cherry tomatoes.

Mixed Vegetable Paella Recipe
Photo: Aubrie Pick
Active Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Yield:
4

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 12 ounces squash (such as yellow squash or zucchini), quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices

  • 1 cup stemmed fresh hen-of-the-woods mushrooms

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion

  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup undrained canned diced tomatoes, or chopped very ripe tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 quart vegetable stock or water

  • Pinch ocf saffron threads

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced Swiss chard

  • 1 cup uncooked Bomba rice (such as Santo Tomas) (see Note)

  • Hot water, as needed

  • 1/2 medium lemon

  • 1/4 cup Lemon Aioli

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 15-inch carbon steel paella pan over high until shimmering. Add squash and mushrooms; cook, undisturbed, until browned on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until browned in all over, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.

  2. Reduce heat to medium-low; add onion, bell pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Cook, stirring often, until onion darkens around edges, about 15 minutes, stirring in garlic during final 1 minute of cook time.

  3. Stir diced tomatoes and tomato paste into mixture, scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring often, until liquid in pan evaporates and tomato paste sizzles, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in vegetable stock, saffron, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Stir in chard and squash mixture. Sprinkle rice over mixture, stirring gently to disperse evenly.

  4. Return mixture to a boil over medium-high. Boil until rice grains are just above top of stock, about 10 minutes.

  5. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, repositioning pan over heat every few minutes by turning pan about 90 degrees to redistribute heat, until rice is tender, has absorbed all liquid, and begins to brown on bottom, about 20 minutes. (Use a small spoon to gently lift rice from bottom of pan to check for brownness on crust.) If the liquid is cooking off quickly and rice is still al dente, add hot water as needed (1/4 cup at a time) until rice is tender.

  6. Remove pan from heat; loosely cover with aluminum foil or a clean kitchen towel, and let stand 10 minutes. Uncover and squeeze juice from lemon half over paella; top with dollops of lemon aioli.

Notes

Bomba rice is a short-grain rice that can absorb a large amount of liquid without bursting or becoming mushy. Find it at specialty stores or on amazon.com.

Suggested Pairing

Robust, stone-fruited, Chenin Blanc.

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