Friday, July 29, 2016

PAELLA ITALIANA

This is my Italian version of the popular Spanish Paella using Italian sausages, instead of chorizo and Italian arborio rice instead of Spanish bomba rice. I used chicken, Italian sausages, mussels, clams, and calamari rings. Use whatever seafood you like. You can also make the paella with shellfish alone.



2 T (30 ml) extra-light olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 boneless chicken breasts or 4 boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size chunks
3 sweet or hot Italian sausage links
1 t smoked paprika
1 yellow onion, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T (15 ml) fresh oregano leaves or freeze-dried oregano
2 cups (500 ml) Arborio rice
4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock or broth
1 cup (250 ml) bottled clam juice
1 (14 oz /398 ml) can fire roasted diced tomatoes 
1 t crushed saffron threads
½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
2 fresh or dried bay leaves

12 mussels, beards removed and scrubbed clean
16 small fresh Manilla or littleneck clams, scrubbed clean
1 lb (500 g) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ lb (125 g) squid (calamari) cut into circles
1 cup (125 ml) frozen peas, thawed
½ cup (125 ml) pimento stuffed green olives
¼ cup (60 ml) Italian parsley, chopped
1 roasted red bell pepper, thinly sliced
Lemon wedges, for serving
Crusty Italian bread, for serving

In a paella pan or large flat skillet, heat one tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil over medium heat.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook the chicken until lightly brown. 
Remove to the platter.
Add the Italian sausages and brown on all sides, for about 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove to the platter with the chicken and sprinkle all with the smoked paprika.

Lower the heat and add the other tablespoon (15 ml) of oil and sauté the onion and bell peppers for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the oregano and rice and cook for a minute or two.
Pour in the chicken stock, clam broth, tomatoes, and saffron. 
Stir to combine and turn off heat while slicing sausages.

Slice the Italian sausages into circles and add to the pan along with the chicken.
Add the wine and bay leaves.
Cover tightly and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

Remove lid and tuck in the mussels and clams. 
Cover and cook another 7 to 8 minutes, or until mussel and clam shells have opened.
Add the shrimp and squid, cover and let cook another 5 minutes.
Remove lid and sprinkle with peas, olives, parsley, and roasted bell pepper slices.
Turn up heat for 30 seconds to let the rice stick and caramelize on the bottom of the pan.
Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread.

Serves 4



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