Mark Bittman makes three variations of seafood paella

Mark Bittman, author of the "How to Cook Everything" cookbook, is serving up one of Spain's most famous foods: paella. Here, he makes three simple variations of the classic rice dish, including one with noodles.

The simplest paella
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • Pinch saffron threads
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 cups short- or medium-grain rice, preferably paella rice or Arborio
    • 2 cups peeled shrimp (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch chunks
    • Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Warm the stock with the saffron in a small saucepan. Put the oil in a 10- or 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's shiny, another minute or two. Carefully add the warm stock and stir until just combined, then stir in the shrimp.Put the pan in the oven and bake, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Check to see if the rice is dry and just tender. If not, return the pan to the oven for 5 minutes. If the rice looks too dry at this point, but still isn't quite done, add a small amount of stock or water. When the rice is ready, turn off the oven and let it sit for at least 5 and up to 15 minutes.Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with parsley. If you like, put the pan over high heat for a few minutes to develop a bit of a bottom crust before serving.

Easy paella with peas, clams and chorizo
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 8 ounces Spanish chorizo or other smoked sausage, cubed
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
    • Salt and black pepper
    • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
    • 2 pounds littleneck or other hard-shell clams, well-scrubbed, those with broken shells discarded
    • 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
    • Lemon wedges

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Put the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns translucent, 3 to 5 minutes more.2. Stir in the rice, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the rice is glossy and completely coated with oil, just a minute or 2. Add the tomato and 2 cups water. Stir, adjust the heat so that the liquid boils steadily but not violently, and cover.3. Cook for 30 minutes before checking for doneness; add a little water if the rice is dry but not yet tender. Cover and cook until the rice is just done and the liquid is absorbed, another 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the peas and the clams, replace the lid, and continue cooking until the clams are open, 3 to 5 minutes (if any don't, you can open them with a butter knife). If you want a crunchy crust of toasted rice to form at the bottom of the pan (soccarat), uncover the pot and turn the heat up so the rice sizzles. Cook, without stirring, until you can smell the rice toasting (but not burning), then turn off the heat. Remove the clams from the shells and return them to the pot if you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning and toss. Serve, garnished with parsley and lemon wedges.

Paella with noodles
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 8 ounces any long, thin pasta, preferably whole wheat, broken into 2-inch or shorter lengths
    • Salt and black pepper
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon saffron threads, optional
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
    • 1 bell pepper, chopped
    • 1⁄2 cup water or stock, plus more as needed
    • 8 ounces scallops, squid, clams, mussels, or shrimp, or a combination
    • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
    • Lemon wedges

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes; remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add the noodles to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until they brown (try not to let them blacken).2. Return the onion and garlic to the pan and add the saffron, paprika, peas and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the water and cook, stirring and adding more liquid if things start to stick, until the noodles are nearly tender and everything is just starting to dry out, about 15 minutes.3. Stir in the seafood and cook, stirring occasionally and adding a little more water or stock if you like, until it is just cooked through (large shrimp and scallops will take about 5 minutes; small or chopped shrimp about 3 minutes; squid no more than 1 minute). Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the parsley and serve with the lemon wedges.

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