Recipe by Chef Jose Arato
This week I was invited to a paella making class by Pimenton Spanish and Mediterranean Fine Foods' owner, Chef Jose Arato. I love paella but have never attempted to make this iconic Spanish dish because I was afraid of not doing it justice. Chef Arato was a wonderful teacher whose ease with his students only equaled his mastery in the kitchen.
"Venezuelan-born Jose Arato started his professional career as an accountant. One bite (or two) of sumptuous pastries lead him to reconsider his career choice. Upon completely switching gears and diving head-first into the culinary world, Jose interned at the Fairmont Royal York, worked as a chef de partie the Park Hyatt Hotel in Toronto and created ethereal pastries at some of the best shops in Toronto including Rahier, All the Best Fine Foods and Dessert Trends. He later staged in a prestigious chocolate program with Chef Sander Koenen in Caracas, Venezuela allowing him to gain a wealth of experience in various pastry styles and techniques. Approximately one year ago, he took over the Pimenton business from friend and mentor Lola Csullog-Fernandez who left Jose with her coveted Spanish recipes that he makes today, proudly in her memory and with a lot of amor." ~M.L. Mejia
We were treated to an educational, entertaining and delicious night. I left Pimenton full and inspired! I can't wait to try making my own paella....all I need is my very own paella pan.
Thank you Chef Arato for a fantastic night and for kindly sharing your recipe with us. Enjoy!
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped coarsely
Pinch saffron, infused
4 chicken breasts cut up
2 squid, cleaned, cut into rings
16 small clams, soaked to remove sand
16 shrimp, shelled and deveined
Spanish Oil as needed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
Sofrito * see recipe below
3 cups Bomba rice
6 1/2 cup Chicken or Fish broth, hot
1 tablespoon salt (or more as needed)
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 sweet roasted red peppers
2 dozen mussels, steamed
Lemon wedges for garnish
1. Place 1/2 cup of stock in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, and add the saffron and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside. This step is only necessary if your saffron is not dried enough.
2. In a mortar and pestle or small food processor, mash the garlic, parsley and some course salt to a paste. Set aside
3. Heat 6 tablespoons of oil in a paella pan and add the shrimp. Cook briefly and then add the clams and squid. Remove from paella pan. Add more oil if necessary, as dry paella can result if there isn't enough oil. Add the onions, pepper and when these are soft but not brown. It’s time to add the sofrito, and the garlic/parsley & saffron mixtures. Add enough stock to come up the rivets of the paella pan. Bring to a boil. Squeeze the lemon and season the paella at this point. Add the rice in one line and then stir to mix with the stock. Allow to boil hard for 8 minutes.
4. After 8 minutes, add the green beans, peas and nestle the shrimp on top. DO NOT STIR, as this releases the starch in the rice. Continue cooking at a high roll for another 2-3 minutes or until the rice is no longer soupy but enough liquid remains to continue to cook the rice. Now, turn the heat to low. Place the mussels on the top of the rice and arrange strips of roasted red peppers on top of paella. If your paella bottom does not fit properly on the stove burner, continue cooking in a pre-heated 350F oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven when the rice still looks a bit wet. Cover with foil and let the paella rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley and serve from paella pan.
One of Spain's basic sauces
1 garlic clove
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a saucepan, heat the oil; add the chopped onion and garlic. Fry gently until fragrant, about 6 minutes.
2. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar and salt. Cook at medium heat until some of the liquids has evaporated. Blend with a hand blender. Freezes well.
Enjoy some photos from our night.