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Paella is a party dish. The kind of endeavor you'd only undertake if you plan on feeding at least 10, if not 100, people.
And yet, it's the perfect after-work comfort food. Rice, perfumed with all that decadent saffron. The charred smoky garlickiness of the chorizo. The elegance of the seafood. The sweet onions and bright bursting peas. Everything in one perfect pot. Elegant and down-to-earth all at once.
So I set about devising the perfect weeknight paella for two, and it's so good and easy. I use boil-in-the-bag rice, although you could use whatever white rice you like. I sauté together some good dry Spanish chorizo and olive oil, shallots and shrimps, green peas and parsley. Then I add in the rice and some saffron, and finish it all together in a big pan. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll finish it off under the broiler to get that top layer of rice nice and crisp like it does at the edges of those big Spanish paella pans.
The result is a hot and hearty dinner, full of sausage and shrimps and rice and green peas, that's at the same time a bit luxurious and exotic. And, the best part, everything is already on-hand. I have my shrimp and peas in the freezer. My chorizo, rice, and shallots in the pantry. In 15 minutes, we have a paella party.
About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way.