I'm going to a baby shower today, and I needed something subway friendly that could be easily shared, and made relatively inexpensively. I was going to do a Japanese Kara age (fried chicken) but realized I'm feeling way too lazy to deal with hot oil, so I decided to do a paella. Or a risotto. Erm... I did a rice dish.
The difference between risotto and paella seems to be entirely reliant on who you ask. In theory, paellas don't require the stirring that risotto does, and you make it in a special pot. I have a paella pan. Pooh gave it to me, with the little heat trivet and everything. I know how to use it - but today I was far too lazy to fish it out of storage...
So I used a pot. And up there? that's what it looked like. And it was delish!
So here's what went into my risolla or paetto....
- Diced brown mushrooms
- Italian sweet sausage (links, though I suspect loose would have been a better call, could also use diced up chicken, seafood, chicken sausage etc)
- 1 package of Arborio rice (12 oz)
- Cherry tomatos, cut into quarters
- 2/3rds of a visalia onion
- Handful of garlic
- spoonful of saffron (pretty sure you can skip this without compromising the taste, but the vivid yellow orange color is thanks to the saffron - not the expensive kind, I got mine cheap at a bazzar in Thailand - would use much less if it was purchased here.)
- Glob of tomato paste - I used a soup spoon
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- cup of water (set this aside, you may or may not need it)
- Olive oil
- Pinch of herb mix
In a big pot pour a generous splash of olive oil and warm it up over medium heat.
Add the onions and garlic and stir - keep stirring until the onions and garlic start to become translucent and caramelize. (you can cheat a bit by raising the heat and adding water a table spoon at a time to speed the softening)
Toss in the mushrooms and heat thru (medium heat), add the rice (you may need to add olive oil at this point, the mushrooms tend to soak it in), and stir until the grains start to toast (some will become golden brown).
Add two cups of the broth and stir - now this is where the paella and risotto become two different dishes according to most sources I checked. Risotto you keep stirring, paella you don't stir as much. Frankly I stirred because I didn't want it sticking to the pot. I hate scrubbing pots.
Stir in the tomato paste, saffron, salt to taste and herb mix, and continue to add liquid in small portions as it is absorbed by the rice. Once all of the chicken broth is added, add the diced sausage and continue to stir and monitor - you may need to add water at this point if the rice starts to stick to the pan. To preserve the fresh taste of the peas, I added them at this point, with a couple table spoons of water, covered the pot and let it simmer for about 4 minutes.
Check the rice every couple of minutes - you want it to be tender but still a little firm to the bite.
Total cooking time around 30 min.