Shhh, paella is a non-stirred risotto.
Don’t tell anyone that you are being utterly lazy and walk away from your rice as it cooks on your stovetop, all by itself, no stirring required. There’s actually no reason why you can’t use risotto rice for a paella – both short grain and very starchy and so long as you don’t stir it, you should get a very good paella from arborio or carnaroli rice. I like to minimise the number of rice types in my store cupboard and I’m so pleased that the main difference between these two dishes is the technique. A good paella will have quite separate rices of rice, it won’t have the creamy unctuousness of a risotto and the bottom may have caught a little in the pan as you must not stir it once the stock has gone into the rice.
My midweek meals have to either be fast fullstop (I would class this as prep to plate in under 30 minutes start to finish) or need to give me time to jump in the shower, put the washing on or if I’m really lucky, have a drink and vegetate in front of the TV with Hungry Hubby as it cooks. By making use of one of my favourite flavour bomb ingredients – in this case baby chorizo sausages – you don’t need much in the way of seasoning to have a tasty, flavoursome and fast dinner. I essentially steam the squid rings by taking the dish off the heat and putting the lid on for 5 mins (I do use my oven timer for this to make sure I don’t over cook the temperamental fish). If you had some slow cooked pork, leftover roast chicken or some vinegary roasted red peppers in a jar, perhaps leftover from making my one pot eggs dish you could pimp your paella and feel just like a domestic goddess for rustling up such a comforting feast so easily midweek.
- 125g risotto rice (although there is no reason why you can't use paella rice such as bomba)
- 2-4 tbsp sherry (amontillado or pedro ximenez are worth trying)
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 4-6 mini chorizo sausages (the raw sort), chopped into discs
- 1 raw red pepper or 1 roasted, from a jar
- 1 can of sweetcorn or 2 large handfuls of frozen peas
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp saffron
- 600ml stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 medium squid tube, sliced into 1cm thick rings
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Put a wide and shallow casserole or saucepan on medium high heat on the hub and add in the chorizo and chopped onion. Cook for 5- 10 minutes until the oil is released from the sausage and the onions softened.
- Add in the raw pepper if using a raw one (if using a roasted red pepper from a jar, just chop and add it with the squid as it doesn't need cooking, just reheating).
- Stir in the rice, followed with the sweetcorn or peas then once slick with oil, add in the sherry.
- Pour in all the stock along with the saffron and turn the heat down to medium-low and quickly put on the lid. Set the timer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile quickly toss the squid in the olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice and salt and pepper - set aside.
- When the timer is up, check the rice - if needed, add a little more stock and cook a few more minutes but if it's translucent, turn off the heat, lay the squid and it's marinade on top and replace the lid. Set the time for 5 minutes before removing and checking the fish is cooked.
- Serve sprinkled with extra lemon juice and the freshly chopped parsley.
- Note risotto rice can be very variable in the amount of liquid it needs to cook and the time it takes to cook. It's always worth having a little more stock on hand in case the rice needs a touch more.
- Don't slice the squid too thinly or it will over cook and toughen up.
- Fresh peas would be a real treat if you have some in your garden.