Paella Italiana

Paella Italiana
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 900g total
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 small tin (340g) peeled crushed tomatoes (or 450g fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, quartered)
  • 1.4L chicken stock
  • 600g arborio rice
  • 110g finely chopped carrot
  • 110g finely chopped celery
  • 220g finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tbsps whole fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 1/2 tsps Spanish paprika, divided
  • 450g large prawns, peeled, de-veined
  • 170g spicy dried Italian sausage, cut crosswise into 1/3cm slices (quartered if large)
  • 4 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Finely ground sea salt, preferably grey salt
  • Pepperoncini, for serving
1) Remove the tenderloins (small muscle on the underside) from the chicken breasts. Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Cut all the chicken into 4cm pieces. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

2) Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pot over high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add the chicken. Cook until well browned on two sides, turning once, 6-7 minutes total. Add the sausage to the pan. Cook for 10 seconds.

3) Season the prawns with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the prawns to the pan, stir once then cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika and the oregano. Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet to cool.

4) Return the pan to high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery. Pour the juices from the baking sheet into the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the vegetables are soft, but not brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5) Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

6) Raise the heat to high. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and remaining 2 teaspoons paprika. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice. Stir to evenly coat the grains with oil. Cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring it up to a simmer. Add the tomatoes and stir to incorporate. Sprinkle in the saffron. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Cook until the liquid comes back to a simmer. Cover and put the pan in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Return the chicken, sausage and prawns to the pan. Cover the pan again and put it back in the oven to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until everything is warm.

Serve the paella warm with a bowl of pepperoncini on the side. Invite guest to add a couple pepperoncini to the servings and drizzle some vinegar on the paella.

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