Thoughts of paella were originally prompted by a gift of saffron from Spain
A kick in the butt came a few weeks ago when Mark Bittman (man of many food fads in the blogosphere – No-Knead Bread and list of 101 simple meals) posted a recipe a few weeks ago in The New York Times of paella with tomatoes that’s fit for a vegetarian.
I know what you're thinking. What's the point of paella without the seafood? The point is the saffron rice. The other point – of this recipe, at least – is to make use of some of the tomatoes that are overwhelming your kitchen. To bring some of the meaty heartiness of the dish back, I added veggie sausage. I don't think the sausage added to the dish, but it didn't detract, either. For me, this dish is more about the rice.
At this time of year when tomatoes are still abundant, and the weather has cooled off to the point where you no longer fear your kitchen will spontaneously combust if you turn on the oven, this quick, one-dish meal is perfect.
Paella with Tomatoes
Adapted from Mark Bitman’s recipe in The New York Times
3 ½ cups vegetable stock
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into wedge
salt and pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
large pinch of saffron
2 teaspoons paprika
2 cups Spanish or other short-grain rice
7 ounces veggie sausage
minced parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Warm stock in a saucepan.
- Toss tomatoes in a bowl with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Put remaining oil in a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure the skillet is oven proof, as it’ll be going in the oven later.
- Add onion, garlic, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until vegetables soften.
- Stir in tomato paste, saffron, and paprika and cook for a minute more.
- Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for another minute or two.
- Add stock and stir until combined.
- Put sausage and tomato wedges on top of rice, and pour remaining juices in bottom of bowl over top of rice.
- Put pan in oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until rice is dry and just tender. If rice looks dry but is not quite done, add a small amount of stock and return to the oven until done.
- When rice is cooked turn off the oven, and let the pan sit for 5 to 15 minutes in the oven.
- Remove pan from oven, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.