I love the way that making rice dishes, and paella particularly, can often transform the most basic ingredients into something special. When the rice begins to soften and become sticky with this recipe it combines really well with the texture of the courgette and the smell of the smoked paprika is one of my favourites in the kitchen!
2 medium or 1 large onion, finely chopped
5 tbs olive oil
1 each of red and yellow pepper finely chopped
3 medium cougettes, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
10 cherry or mini plum tomatoes, halved
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3 bay leaves
Large pinch of saffron threads
300g paella rice
150ml medium sherry (optional)
600ml hot vegetable stock (from bouillon)
3 tbs fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan and gently shallow fry the onion and garlic for approximately 5 minutes before adding the diced courgette and peppers. Fry gently for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the spices and stir in thoroughly, allowing the flavours to be released. Add the bay leaves then slowly add the rice and stir continuously for 3 minutes before adding the saffron and sherry.
3. Bring to the boil then add the stock and season. Reduce the heat and simmer gently uncovered for approximately 25 minutes, stirring often to avoid sticking.
4. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir gently. Take off the heat, cover and allow rest for 15 minutes.
5. Add the parsley and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice if preferred then season to taste.
6. Serve with fresh salads and toast.