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Video: Dinner tonight: Cook up a hearty, one-pot paella

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    >> this morning in "tooled's kitchen" spain's most famous dish, paella a one-pot dish. mark bittman is a "new york times" columnist and author of "how to cook everything, the basics." welcome back.

    >> good morning, matt.

    >> you say paella is rice and a liquid. what you add to it is what makes it fun.

    >> paella is rice and liquid and other stuff.

    >> let's talk about how you cook paella . you have different pans. why are these good?

    >> this is the classic or similar to the classic paella pan so it's broad and shallow own the idea is the liquid cooks quickly because you've got a wide pan and you develop a little bit of a crust on the bottom but any of these, this is perfect. these are really good even if you're making a small cast iron pan will work. we have three kinds of rice here, almost any rice will do. this is a sort of classic paella rice but this is borio from italy or brown rice will work, too.

    >> you said all it takes is rice and liquid but yet you start with olive oil and onions.

    >> i said rice and liquid.

    >> that's what you're starting with.

    >> olive oil and onions and you cook the rice until it becomes glossy and shiny.

    >> when it comes to the liquid, water, stock? is it kind of interchangeable?

    >> water is the most traditional liquid, obviously the ease ye to come by. stock is, will give you more flavor. we have a beautiful chicken stock here and you'll notice that it's gorgeous, bright yellow because there's saffron in it.

    >> the consistency is important so how much liquid do you want to add to that rice as it's cooking?

    >> about twice as much liquid as rice and here's some saffron and i thought you might just like to take it home because it's very expensive.

    >> oh, withal thank you very much. you're giving me a to go bag?

    >> there you go.

    >> great, thanks very much. i'll probably get stopped at the airport with that. all right. so now you've done that.

    >> we would do that and now this is really about the most basic you can get.

    >> i'm going to stir for you while you're doing that.

    >> since we're both left-handed.

    >> there you go. once do you that, at what point do you add the shrimp which is what you're using in this paella ?

    >> we can add it now because we want it to look nice but really i'd keep it to almost the end because shrimp cooks so quickly.

    >> we want to move on to other things. this is what it looks like when it's done, that's the consistency you want.

    >> and not only will it look like this but if we do it right, it will have this lovely sort of brown crust on the bottom.

    >> now you're going to change things up, first of all another risotto and added chorizo and peas.

    >> this is chorizo, peas, tomatoes, red peppers . no seafood. you could put seafood or chicken in here, whatever.

    >> talk to me about pasta paella .

    >> called fidaios, same technique, cook onions and break up pasta so it's like this and you cook it and we can do it, cook it in some oil, broken pasta.

    >> is that a whole wheat pasta?

    >> same thing, cook it until it's glossy and add your vegetables, your stock or water and at the end your seafood and that's really beautiful.

    >> let's bring our gang in here.

    >> we have to feed the gang.

    >> serve it up.

    >> i know where i'm going.

    >> you want the rice paella ?

    >> i want this right here.

    >> i want the chorizo one.

    >> you could eat out of the pan and fight over it.

    >> a communal pan? of course.

TODAY recipes
updated 4/9/2013 5:33:58 PM ET 2013-04-09T21:33:58

Recipe: The simplest paella

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

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.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Easy paella with peas, clams and chorizo

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

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.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Paella with noodles

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

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.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

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