I used to think that paella was a highly complicated dish involving saffron threads, numerous ingredients, complicated mix of meats and seafood, and some secret spices. Well, turns out nothing could be further from the truth! It’s one of the easiest meals I have ever prepared!
All you do is basically throw all the ingredients together with spices, and that’s it! And I only used 2 pans: 1 skillet for cooking the meats and combining everything, and 1 pan for cooking (boiling) orzo (or rice). Pretty easy and clean for such a sophisticated looking dinner, if you ask me! Also, paella is great for utilizing any leftover chicken, shrimp or sausage – you can just throw those leftovers from last night’s dinner right in! 🙂
I did simplify this dish a bit, by omitting saffron (which is expensive and can take a long time to cook and release the flavors). Instead, I added other colorful spices, such as sweet smoked paprika and red chili powder! As a result, my paella did not suffer a bit without saffron! Be sure to add only 1 teaspoon of each spice (paprika and chili powder) initially and then add more, if you desire more spiciness. Also, add just a touch, a pinch of turmeric – only for color purposes, but make sure not to add too much, because turmeric has a very strong flavor that will overpower other flavors.
You can use either orzo (rice-shaped pasta) or rice here. If using orzo, I like to reserve some cooking water from cooking orzo and then add a little bit of it back into paella to make it juicier! Paella is much better when it’s juicy vs. dry!
Never thought that paella would be something I could cook midweek after work, but it’s easy enough to pull it off! And, it’s so tasty and bursting with flavors! Absolutely, one of my favorite dishes lately!