You may, or may not have noticed a couple of my favourite foods include anything Spanish and risotto. The simple paella that I cooked for tonight's menu combines the two.
Start by frying finely chopped onions and celery in olive oil until soft then add your rice. If you can get hold of some, use Spanish rice. It is a short grain rice, like arborio, but it doesn't leach out as much starch during cooking so you end up with a much cleaner dish. Once the rice is coated in the oil add chopped garlic and chorizo. Stir this briefly so that the flavours start to mingle and the oils start to come out of the chorizo before adding peppers and stock.
So far this is very similar to how I make a risotto and it's where the two take separate paths. With a risotto you stand over the pan, lovingly stirring and gradually adding more and more stock as each ladle-full is absorbed. This is the secret to a really creamy risotto. With paella you add all of the stock in one go and then leave the pan alone. The next time you stir the paella will be moments before you serve it.
As with most dishes there are purists that will tell you that paella needs a raft of ingredients before it can truly be called a paella. These range from chicken, rabbit and snails to prawns, mussels and squid. Personally, I'd be happy with any of the above but tonight I have none of them. Tonight I have good bread, good wine and good company.