Paella need not be a huge ordeal; if it were called baked rice and shrimp in a skillet, you’d think it was a piece of cake—which it is.
3 1/2 cups shrimp or vegetable stock or water, plus more if needed
Pinch of saffron
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
Salt and pepper
1 pound peeled shrimp
3 large ripe tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups short- or medium-grain white rice, preferably paella or Arborio rice
Several sprigs fresh parsley for garnish
Prep | Cook
1. Heat the oven to 450ºF. Put 3 1/2 cups stock or water and a pinch of saffron in a small saucepan over medium heat.
2. Put 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
Trim, peel, and chop the onion.
3. Add the onion to the skillet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.
Cut the shrimp into 1/2-inch chunks.
Core the tomatoes and cut them into wedges.
4. When the onion is soft, stir in 2 cups rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s glossy, a minute or 2. Add the warmed stock and stir in the shrimp.
5. Lay the tomato wedges on top of the rice and put the skillet in the oven. Cook, undisturbed, for 15 minutes.
6. After 15 minutes, check to see if the rice is dry and just tender. If not, return the skillet to the oven for another 5 minutes. If the rice looks too dry but still not quite done, add a small splash of stock or water.
7. When the rice is ready, turn off the heat and let the pan sit in the oven for 5 minutes.
Chop several sprigs parsley.
8. Remove the skillet from the oven, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve hot or warm.
Squid and Tomato Paella. Substitute 1 pound cleaned squid for the shrimp. Cut the bodies into thin rings and the tentacles (if there are any) in half vertically into small pieces. Add them to the stock and saffron at the very beginning.
Chorizo and Tomato Paella. Substitute 8 ounces sliced smoked Spanish chorizo for the shrimp. Add the chorizo to the skillet along with the onion in Step 3.
Photos by Joy Belamarich