Summer Vegetable Paella

Originally posted at joanne-eatswellwithothers.com

This is a one-pot recipe that takes a little prep-work with the vegetables, but it’s totally worth the elbow grease. It also uses two of my splurge ingredients: saffron and arborio rice. From everything I’ve heard about saffron, the taste is absolutely worthwhile and cannot be imitated. Since I only need a few threads of it for most recipes, I’ve only had to make the investment once. The arborio rice cooks up so nicely and tenderly even though I’m the worst at making rice, so I don’t think I’m the best cook to test alternate (read: cheaper) substitutes.

That said, I make two substitutions:

  • plum tomatoes in place of heirloom tomatoes
  • whichever bell pepper is cheapest, regardless of color (why buy an orange bell pepper for $3.99/lb. when green ones are $1.99/lb.?)

One day, I’ll try making this with a different type of rice and without the saffron threads and I’ll post my findings here. In the meantime, this will always always always be a favorite recipe of mine because it’s delicious, it makes bounteous leftovers and it’s even good straight out of the fridge.

Summer Vegetable Paella
Clean out your fridge with this summer vegetable paella that allows you to use up all your crisper drawer odds and ends in a delicious one-pot meal.
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb small heirloom tomatoes, seeded and cut into wedges
  • salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced horizontally
  • 1 lb string beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • pinch of saffron
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 450.
  2. Put the tomato wedges in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let sit while the rest of the paella is prepared.
  3. In a large oven-safe pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic to the pot and saute for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  4. Add the bell peppers, zucchini, and string beans to the pot, along with a pinch of salt. Saute for 5-6 minutes, or until starting to become tender. Add the saffron, paprika, and rice to the pot. Saute for a minute and then add 1 tsp salt and vegetable broth to the pot, plus more water to cover, as necessary. Bring to a boil and let cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Top with the tomato slices and then place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off on the oven and let sit in the still-hot oven for 15 more minutes.
  6. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve warm.
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