January 20, 2008

Spanish Paella

I first had paella when I was visiting my in-laws. My mother-in-law Josefa, orginally from Madrid Spain, had made the traditional Spanish dish for me to try. She loves cooking as I do.

From Wikipedia: Paella is a typical Valencian rice dish, traditionally eaten on Sundays. The name paella is the word for "frying pan" in Valencian (from Latin patella). Paella is usually garnished with vegetables and meat or seafood. The three main ingredients are rice, saffron, and olive oil.

This dish has become one of my favorites to make for my family. It is fairly simple to make, but does a little work. Since a major part of this dish is the seafood and saffron it can be expensive to make. But, you can substitute Spanish rice with saffron and only put shrimp is you want to save a little money.

The other night I wanted to make paella and realized I didn’t have Josefa’s recipe for the dish…so my husband called his mother and she typed up the recipe and emailed it to us. Ahhh….the beauty of technology.

Josefa’s Paella
I'm going to give you the true recipe for paella, and then I will give you some notes to modify for American style. This is for 1 cup of rice only.

1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 cup of rice
1 pound of raw shrimps
1 pound of clams
1 medium onion chop
6 to 8 chop garlic. Do not be shied with the garlic "HA"
3 to 4 package of saffron
1 red chop red pepper
1/2 cup green Spanish olives
1 cup of fish stock
3 cups of chicken stock
Salt to taste
Little water if needed only

Recipe for the fish stock
Peel the shrimp, put the peels in a pot with 1 1/2 cups of water boil, and reduce to 1 cup of stock. In another pot dissolve about 6 cubes of chicken bouillon cubes in 3 cups of water and boil (2 cubes per 1 cup) reserve 1/2 cup of the chicken stock.

In a large skillet pour in the oil and rice and sauté the rice till light gold color, then add the onion and garlic and sauté a little. Know that the garlic will cook faster then the onion.

Add the cup of fish stock, saffron, red pepper, green olives, and chicken stock. Taste the stock and see if it needs salt. (Remember that the fish and chicken cubes are salty)

At this point stir the rice. Taste your rice as it cooks, when the rice is half done, add the seafood, stir lightly to blend. Keep tasting the rice. If you think that the rice is dry then add the reserve 1/2 cup stock, when the rice tasted soft outside and a little nutty inside turn the heat off but leave the skillet on the burner, the rice will continued cooking as it cools.

If during the cooking time you see some grains of rice on the edge of the skillet that they are not cooking, then very careful with an spoon push these grains to the center of the skillet with-out stirring the rice. Try not to stir the rice….if you stir the rice it will break down the starches and make sticky rice.

NOTE: if you do not have the red pepper or saffron, use 1/2 cup of ketchup dissolved first with the fish stock. You can also buy Yellow Spanish rice with saffron if you don’t have saffron available. Also, making this dish just with shrimp is just as good. Be sure and pair paella with a good glass of wine. Makes wonderful leftovers the next day!

January 9, 2008

I watched Giada, from the Food Network, make this savory dish and I knew it had to be a delicious.

The combination of the slow cooked short ribs, pasta, sauce and topping the dish with bittersweet chocolate….you can’t go wrong! Be sure and pair this meal with some garlic bread and a good glass of your favorite wine.

Short Ribs with Tagliatelle
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces chopped pancetta (about 1/2 cup)
2 1/2 pounds short ribs
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes (whole or diced)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups beef broth
3/4 cup red wine
1 pound fresh or dried tagliatelle
4 to 6 teaspoons shaved bittersweet chocolate

Place the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total.

Meanwhile, combine the onion, carrot, parsley and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely minced. Then add the tomatoes and tomato paste and pulse.

Once the short ribs are browned, carefully add the mixture from the food processor to the pot. Return the pancetta to the pot and stir. Add the rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, beef broth, and wine. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another hour and a half, stirring occasionally. Remove the meat and bones from the pot. Discard the bones. Shred the meat and return it to the pot. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes for dried pasta and 2 to 3 minutes for fresh. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta liquid 1/4 cup at a time, if needed, to moisten the pasta. Transfer to serving bowls, top each bowl with 1 teaspoon of chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.