Isn’t it funny how even a 3 day weekend isn’t enough time to prepare for the coming week? Ok, so we chose to do fun things instead of vacuuming, etc., but I was only able to cross a few things off my ever-growing to do list. However, I put some of that extra Labor Day time to good use and made a favorite: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Multi-Vegetable Paella.
When I was deciding what to make for dinner, I realized that the stars were aligned and I had (almost) all of the ingredients needed to make this remarkably simple dinner. Is this a traditional paella recipe? Probably not, but I’m not an expert. But it doesn’t require a paella pan and goes well into a large skillet. Although if you have a paella pan, it looks pretty amazing. I was lucky enough to have Spanish paella rice on hand (thanks Mom and Dad!) but I’ve used sushi rice and risotto in the past with good results.
This is a really great way to introduce new vegetables for kids. Z has been offered fennel numerous times, but she never ate more than a bite when it was roasted or raw. Sliced and sautéed in the recipe, and it was a hit. Artichokes are also easy introduce in this recipe because steaming them with the rice takes out some of the tartness that you typically notice when they are jarred and marinated.
Ottolenghi has never lead me in the wrong direction, but I still made a few substitutions: I never remember to buy frozen fava beans, so I substituted green beans. Also, no tomatoes, just because cooked tomatoes are not a huge hit with my family.
adapted from Yotam Otollenghi, “Plenty”
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 fennel bulb, cut into strips (use a full fennel bulb if it is small)
1 handful of thin French green beans, cut in half
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 cup Calasparra or bomba paella rice (sushi or arborio rices work if you can’t find paella rice)
1/3 cup sherry
1 tsp saffron threads
1/3 tsp of salt (less if using a salty vegetable broth)
2 – 2/12 cups boiling vegetable stock
1 small jar of artichoke quarters, drained and rinsed
15 pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 handful of parsley, chopped
4 lemon wedges
Heat up the olive oil in a hot large pan or paella pan and saute onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and fennel and continue for another 5 minutes, or until they are softened. Add green beans, garlic, bay leaves, paprika and turmeric and mix well.
Add the rice and stir until it is coated in oil and veggies. Mix in the sherry, saffron, salt (if using,) and boiling stock and mix together stir well. Simmer at low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid. The rice will not be totally cooked at this point.
Remove pan from the heat and top with artichokes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Take off the foil and sprinkle the olives and parsley across the top.
Serve with lemon wedges.