Perfecting Paella

Hey guys! Welcome to a guest post by my dear husband, Nathan. We treated ourselves with paella on Sunday night to celebrate (almost) 4 years together. Here’s the story!

This post has been four years in the making…

Back in the late summer of 2010 I was busy composing a new flamenco-infused percussion ensemble piece for the University of Oklahoma when I started dating this cute little someone from my running group. When I finished the piece, Katie & I joked that we should celebrate by eating paella, a popular Spanish rice dish.

Are there any places in Greensboro that serve authentic paella? No.
Did we own a paella pan to make it ourselves? No.

Fast-forward a few months to Christmas 2010…

I thought I was being clever and romantic buying Katie a paella pan & cookbook for Christmas. As we’re exchanging gifts during this, our first Christmas together, we simultaneously opened dueling paella pans. Katie even one-upped me by seeking out a much more authentic pan than the Sur La Table model I bought for her.

Can I get a collective “Awwwwwww”?

We decided to try out these new gifts on my family. Let’s call it a valiant yet failed attempt. I was trying to make do with a tiny kitchen and a crappy stovetop. Not optimal. And I haven’t tried since. Until now…

Paella Attempt #2

A couple of months ago we broke down and bought a gas grill after years of solely using charcoal. One of my reasons for this was to have a constant heating source with a large surface area to be able to make what? That’s right – paella!

Paella Ingredients

Step one was finding the right kind of rice for paella. Calasparra or bomba rice is recommended, as they can absorb much more liquid than traditional rice or even arborio (risotto rice). Paella is not meant to be creamy like its Italian friend risotto, so we wanted to get the rice right. After 3 failed searches at Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and Cost Plus World Market, Katie tracked down some bomba rice at Sur La Table.

Here are all of the ingredients:

  • Bomba rice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • seafood stock
  • white onion
  • tomato
  • garlic
  • fresh red bell pepper
  • roasted red bell pepper
  • parsley
  • capers
  • saffron
  • dried oregano
  • kosher salt
  • Spanish chorizo
  • shrimp
  • mussels

The traditional Valencian paella doesn’t mix seafood and meat, but I really wanted to include some Spanish chorizo with the shrimp and mussels for the occasional salty/smoky/spicy burst of flavor. I’ll let the photo collage walk you through the process.


The flavor profile was spot on, but it was a little creamier than I wanted it. Next time, we’ll use a little less seafood stock.

We started with a deliciously light salad that Katie threw together with arugula, baby spinach, shaved manchego, and chorizo crumbles tossed with EVOO and lemon juice.


We paired the meal with a delightful Spanish tempranillo wine.


And the beautiful finished product…

Paella Mixta with Shrimp, Mussels, & Chorizo

Thanks for reading, everyone! Check out more treats this week over at Olives ‘n Wine!


3 thoughts on “Perfecting Paella

  1. Pingback: WIAW: Cleaning It Up | Living the Katie Way

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