Traditionally, paella is made on a Sunday and because women need a day off from cooking it is usually made by the men. I have bought a paella pan and gas ring so my family are always enjoying this lovely dish. Calasparra is a low-starch, short-grain rice and when cooked it is fluffy with separate grains. It is the best rice to use for paella; it can absorb heaps of liquid so it bursts with flavour. To increase the quantities and serve more people (although you will need a giant paella dish), allow about 80 g of rice per person.
- 2 red capsicums, 1 left whole, 1 finely chopped
- 10 saffron threads
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 large tomato, peeled and finely chopped
- 300 g chicken breast or thigh fillets, diced
- 200 g squid, diced
- 300 g calasparra rice
- 750 ml fish stock
- 3 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
- 4 large green prawns
- 1 blue swimmer crab, halved
- 8 mussels
- 12 pippies
- 200 g peas
- ⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Roast the whole capsicum on a baking tray until blistered, then peel it, discard the seeds and tear the flesh into thin strips. Set aside.
Grind the saffron with some salt in a mortar.
Heat the oil in a large paella pan (or frying pan) over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, tomato, fresh capsicum, chicken, squid and rice and stir for 1 minute. Add the stock, paprika and crushed saffron, stir for the last time and bring to the boil. When the stock boils and the grains begin to swell, lay the prawns and crab on top. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the stock has reduced enough that you can see the rice underneath. Push the mussels and pippies into the rice and cook until their shells open. Scatter with the peas, strips of roasted capsicum and parsley and cook for another 5 minutes over low heat.
• The perfect time to add the seafood to paella is when enough of the stock has been absorbed to allow the rice to be seen.
• Do not stir the paella during main cooking.
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