You will need a paella pan of about 45cm, but if you don’t have one then the biggest skillet you have will suffice.
Making a sofrito
A sofrito is one of the building blocks for all good paella and many other sauces in Spanish cuisine such as romesco. It’s basically a jam of onions, garlic and capsicum along with herbs and bay leaf. You can make this and freeze it as it could be seen as the Spanish version of a stock when cooking rice.
- 125ml olive oil
- 2 white onions finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 4 bay leaves
- Bunch of thyme
- 4 large red capsicums: seeded and finely diced
- 4 ripe tomatoes peeled seeded and cored and diced
Making sure all your ingredients are finely diced put in your paella pan and softly-fry or sofrito over a very low heat. The whole process should take around an hour or more. The mixture will gradually turn into a jamy, darker coloured paste. Once it has darkened, take off the heat, let cool and store in a container.
Making a paella
- 750 ml (3 cups) water
- ¼ tsp Spanish sweet or smoked paprika
- pinch saffron threads (Iranian or Spanish)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100g semi-cured chorizo, sliced into ½ cm rounds
- 2 squid or calamari tubes, sliced into 1 cm rounds
- ¼ cup sofrito – recipe above
- 1 cup bomba rice or marisma rice
- 100ml white wine
- 8 large green prawns
- 16 black mussels
- 1 roasted capsicum, diced
- chopped parsley, to serve
- lemon wedges, to serve
- Place a paella pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and chorizo and cook for 5 minutes until it releases some oil and looks crisp, remove and set aside, add the sofrito and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly before adding the squid and cook for 3 minutes. Add back the chorizo along with the saffron and then the rice.
- Stir to make sure the rice is coated in the paprika colored oils then pour in the wine and cook until evaporated.
- Pour in the water, stir, then spread the rice evenly over the base of the pan and bring to the boil.
- Cook for a few minutes until the rice begins to swell and absorbs some stock.
- Add the prawns and two pinches of salt. Stir gently for the last time and reduce the heat to a steady simmer.
- Cook for 3–4 minutes until the rice begins to show as the stock reduces.
- Add the mussels and continue to cook for 8–10 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
- Reduce heat to low and cook for a further 5 minutes until a crust (known as a socarrat) forms on the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle over the roasted capsicum, remove from the heat and rest for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
The Carousel thanks The Bohemian Bar & Restaurant in Melbourne for this delicious recipe.
If you want to become an expert at making a delicious paella, you can register for paella cooking class with Bohemian Head Chef Lorenzo Casu and Spanish paella Master Chef Gerard Rodriguez!