|Ottolenghi's Multi Vegetable Paella|
If I had to choose one recipe to eat for the rest of my life this multi-vegetable paella just may be it! The recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi's latest cookbook Plenty which is a compilation of his recipes from the Guardian. I'm not a vegetarian and neither is Chef Ottolenghi, but he has a fresh and exciting way with vegetables whether they are to be served on their own or as an accompaniment.
The paella shines on the plate and amazingly all the individual flavours sing out, from the peppers through to the broad beans. Unfortunately or fortuitously, depending on whether you see your glass as half empty or half full, I couldn't find broad beans so substituted sugar snap peas. Carrots, zucchinis, and peas can all be used in making this dish, with slight adjustments to the cooking times. Use your best judgement. The recipe you see here is in the original form and is limited only by your imagination!. Food like this just might tempt me to become a vegetarian full time and it has certainly renewed my love for Chef Ottolenghi! The thing is I could never give up chicken, the occasional hamburger or my beloved salmon and halibut because I simply choose not to.
**Multi Vegetable Paella**
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ Spanish onion, finely chopped
½ red, green and yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into thin strips
½ fennel bulb, cut into strips
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne
150g Calasparra rice
1 teaspoon saffron strands
500ml boiling vegetable stock
12 mini plum tomatoes
5 small grilled jarred artichokes, quartered
300g podded broad beans, blanched and skinned
10 pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
4 lemon wedges, to serve
Heat the oil in a paella or large, shallow frying pan, then gently fry the onion for five minutes. Add the peppers and fennel, and fry over medium heat until soft and golden - about eight minutes. Add the garlic, cook for a minute, then add the bay leaves and spices, stir, add the rice and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the sherry and saffron, boil down for a minute, then add the stock and a third of a teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat as low as it will go and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Do not stir: the low heat will prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Remove the pan from the heat. Taste and add salt if needed, but avoid stirring the rice and vegetables much. Scatter the tomatoes, artichokes and beans over the rice, cover the pan tightly with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Take off the foil, scatter the olives on top, sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
Serves two, generously.
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