Say it “Pie-ae- uh”
Tracy (my DH) and I were watching an old rerun from the Dick Van Dyke sitcom about a week ago and Paella was served as something special to guests. They made it sound mysterious and exotic. (Which it may have been mid 1960’s.) I’d heard the word before and had a vague feeling it involved seafood. I googled it and no surprise, found a mountain of recipes. It is an ancient dish from Valencia, Spain. It is made with rice, tomatoes, saffron and a variety of meats.
It is often thought the word is a version of ‘patella’ meaning, pan or another says it comes from ‘por ella’ meaning, for her. It is a colorful and exquisite dish that can be time consuming and it usually makes an immense amount. That’s great for company. But what if there are just one or two at home and you still want the great taste and to be thrifty with time?
I watched a video of Rachel Ray making her Venetian Paella. At the end of the video she said it was a time intensive dish to make and would take longer than her usual 30 minutes. (I think her recipe says 55 minutes.) I found the recipe on foodnetwork.com. I also found an ‘easy’ version that suggested using a Spanish Rice Box Mix. This seemed helpful. But how would it taste? So many flavors. It could be great… or time for a peanut butter sandwich and to air out the kitchen.
So with some excitement and trepidation I decided to give it my best guess in the kitchen and this is recipe I created. I served it up to my husband and son. It makes about 4 hearty servings. We all loved it. Best of all, it didn’t take more than 30 minutes to make, including cooking the meat.
Traditionally, scallops and mussels can be included in this dish too. I chose not to invest in these ingredients as I discovered from reading many recipes and a little of the history that you can choose which meats will go into your pan. In fact another version of the name is thought to be a corruption of the Basque word for ‘left overs’. So now when I make Paella, leftovers become fancy ‘make overs’. Enjoy!
Up next week: The Blondie Mix is unveiled!