Tomato PaellaWay yum, right? We're eating a lot more vegetarian these days, and so I'm always looking for new meatless recipes. Plus, this used saffron, which Justin brought some of back from Turkey because it's WAY cheaper there. So I jumped all over this when I found it on Pinterest!
1. Preheat oven to 450. Warm 3 cups of water or broth in a saucepan. Slice 1 pound of tomatoes into wedges and toss with plenty of salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
2. In a cast iron skillet, sauté one sliced onion and a tablespoon of minced garlic in some olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste, a pinch of saffron threads, and 1-2 teaspoons of smoked paprika. Add 2 cups short grain rice (I use arborio) and stir for a minute or two until shiny. Add 1/2 cup white wine until it is absorbed, then add the water or broth, and stir.
3. Arrange the tomatoes on top and drizzle with the juices from the bowl. Put the pan in the oven and let roast for about 15 minutes. Check to see that the rice is tender and dry; if not, let it roast for another 5-10 minutes, or until done, adding a small amount of water, broth, or wine if needed. When done, turn off the oven and let sit for 10 minutes or so.
4. On the stovetop, cook the paella over high for a few minutes to develop a tasty crust. Sprinkle with basil and/or parsley, if desired. Enjoy!
Alas, it once again confirms the conclusion I've come to before in my cooking life: I CAN'T COOK RICE. I am a master at minute rice, but any "real" rice recipe I've EVER tried NEVER works. The rice just doesn't cook. I can't tell you how many recipes I've fed my poor guys with crunchy rice, which is edible, but doesn't leave your tummy feeling all that great later.
I've never used arborio rice, so I thought that might be one that would cook properly according to directions. No, it didn't. If you look in step 3 of the recipe, you'll see the rice is supposed to be "tender and dry" after roasting in the oven for 15 minutes. NOT! I don't think it had soaked up ANY of the liquid at all! It was crunchy rice soup. So at that point, I just put a lid on it and simmered it on the stovetop at medium for about 8 minutes. That DID cook it, and it ended up being delicious, but it's always a bummer to ONCE AGAIN not have a recipe work. Here's what mine looked like:
It was very tasty, though, and I probably will make it again. Next time I imagine I'll just do it all on the stovetop. My step 3 will be: "Arrange the tomatoes on top and drizzle with the juices from the bowl. Turn heat to high until mixture is boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on medium low for 20 minutes." I'll just cut out step 4, which I didn't do this time either. The saffron and white wine gave it fantastic flavor, although if you're not into cooking with wine, I'm sure you could substitute with broth and still get a very tasty dish.
So there's my dubious Pinterest story for the week. Happy Pinday!