Do you have a food bucket list? A list of food that you want to get around to cooking some day? I have one and it is mainly made up of things I think are hard to get right like pastry, food that terrifies me – anything deep fried, or are time consuming. I feel like paella falls in to two of these categories – food that is hard to get right and is time consuming to make. Though having just looked at a few recipes for paella my idea that it is time consuming is way off base.
But I am not the only one who thought that and this Spanish inspired prawn (shrimp) risoni is adapted from this recipe for quick and easy paella by Debi from Life Currents. Debi created her recipe because of the time paella takes. I wonder why it has that reputation when the recipes I have found suggest it is not that onerous a cooking task in terms of time – getting it right is a different matter.
This recipe really appealed to me as I am on a bit of a risoni (orzo) kick at the moment after discovering risoni with this recipe for veal paprikash and orzo. I have made a faux chicken and pea risotto and am looking at other faux risotto options. I love the flexibility of risoni as a rice alternative.
I haven’t called this recipe paella as I am not sure it really tastes like a proper paella. I am not confident I have eaten a proper paella – I am skeptical of the paella I have eaten in Spain. I suspect even in Spain it was not particularly authentic and geared to tourists who don’t know better.
But even if it isn’t a paella, this recipe is glorious, especially with the addition of the prawns. I am in love with the smoky undercurrents that smoked paprika brings to a dish, the vegetables are quite sweet and the rice makes a lovely base to all this flavourful goodness. Mind you the first time I made this, I kept getting this weird funky sweet taste that I didn’t dislike but was not sold on. I was a bit disappointed by the recipe but decided to give it another go. Turns out it was the dodgy marinated artichoke hearts I used. I have no idea what they were marinated in but it meant the artichokes didn’t taste like artichokes. They were by a brand that I never seem to get on well with and I must have bought them out of desperation. And I am a big artichoke heart lover. So choose your artichoke hearts wisely.
This is another one pot wonder for a weeknight that delivers big flavours. What more do I need to say!
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- 200g of raw prawn meat
- 1/8th of a brown onion, diced
- 1/4 cup of risoni (orzo)
- 2/3 to 3/4 of a cup of chicken stock
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika
- a pinch of saffron threads
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- a pinch of black pepper
- 1 tsp of white wine
- 1/4 of frozen peas, run under hot water to defrost
- 1 tbs of marinated red peppers strips, chopped roughly
- 1/4 cup of marinated artichoke hearts, cut in to bite sized pieces
- Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over a medium heat
- Once heated, add the prawn meat (shrimp) and cook until just done - they will have just changed colour - about 3-4 minutes
- Remove the prawns from the skillet and set aside in a bowl.
- Pop the onion into the pan and cook until it is soft and starting to brown about 7-8 minutes. I cook with an electric stove so it doesn't cool quickly. If this is the case then add a tablespoon of water to slow things down.
- Add the risoni and toast for a couple of minutes - you will see it starting to change colour.
- Add half a cup of chicken stock, the smoked paprika, saffron and salt and pepper.
- Cover the skillet and reduce the heat so it is just simmering for about 10 minutes until the risoni is cooked. Keep an eye on it and add extra stock as needed. If all the stock is fully absorbed then add a bit more and stir every now and again so it doesn't stick too much.
- Once the risoni is cooked add the white wine and if needed deglaze the pan.
- Add the peas, red pepper strips and artichoke hearts, turn the heat back up to medium and heat through, a couple of minutes.