Boy, do we have a treat for you today. I (Anne) am currently in town visiting Donna, and as is our habit, we’re cooking up a storm. Sunday dinners are always some of the best blowouts, and given that today was also Valentine’s Day, with a good crowd coming over to boot, we wanted to go all out. We were already planning on Donna’s My Heart Beets For You salad, plus the glorious Julia Child chocolate almond masterpiece for dessert, but what to do for an entree?
I suggested artichoke hearts, in keeping with the Valentine holiday spirit, and then came around to the paella plan for this week’s Meatless Monday. We decided to combine two approaches: the first was from The Perfect Pantry – we loved the combination of veggies (featuring artichoke hearts) as well as the spicy garlic finishing sauce. We also really like Mark Bittman’s approach to vegetarian paella, as featured in “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian”, wherein the vegetables are not cooked into the rice mixture stovetop but later roasted on top of the rice in the oven – the juices from the vegetables drip down into the rice mixture and get nice caramelization to boot. The pan is then returned to the stovetop to finish, creating the lovely crust on the bottom that is known as “soccarat”.
So we married the two approaches and tweaked it with a few of our own touches as we went. The result was pretty magnificent, if I dare say so myself. If you think paella is incomplete without an assortment of meats, we implore you to give this a try.