Take advantage of small squashes and pumpkins by making an individual paella. If you want to use only one pot, use a glass measuring cup and the microwave to heat the stock.
This is a hearty portion, so it can serve two with the addition of a salad.
Servings: 1 - 2
- 1 small (12 to 16 ounces) butternut or acorn squash or sugar pumpkin
- 1 cup homemade or no-salt-added vegetable broth
- Kosher or sea salt
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika)
- 1 large or 2 small shallot lobes, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup uncooked arborio, bomba or other short-grain rice
- 1/4 cup whole, no-salt-added canned tomatoes, drained and chopped (may substitute 1 to 2 plum tomatoes, chopped)
- 4 canned or frozen/defrosted artichoke hearts, drained and cut into quarters
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces, chopped (optional)
- Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the squash, cut it in half (lengthwise if it is a butternut), and scoop out and remove the seeds; discard them or reserve for another use. Cut the squash into 1/2-inch cubes. Measure out 3/4 cup of squash for this recipe, and reserve the rest for another use. (Or roast it while the oven is hot, and use it for another meal.)
Combine the broth and salt to taste in a small saucepan over medium heat until barely bubbling at the edges; reduce the heat to very low and cover. (Or mix the broth and salt in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup, microwave on HIGH until boiling, about 1 minute, and cover to keep hot.)
Heat the oil in a small (8-inch) cast-iron or other heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, sprinkle in the pimenton and let it sizzle and bloom for a few seconds, then add the shallot and garlic and saute until tender, a few minutes. Add the squash cubes and rice and cook, stirring, for another minute or two so the rice grains are well coated with the pan mixture.
Pour in the hot broth, stir in the tomatoes and artichoke hearts, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the liquid is barely bubbling. Taste the liquid and add salt as needed, then cook, swirling the pan occasionally to keep the rice hydrated, until the rice has swelled and absorbed much but not all of the liquid (it should be slightly soupy), 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the squash is fork-tender and the rice is al dente, or mostly tender but with a little resistance at the center of the grain, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Uncover and return it to the stovetop over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes, to brown and crisp the bottom. If desired, scatter the walnuts and parsley on top.
Spoon the paella out onto a plate, or eat it from the pan.
From Joe Yonan, author of "Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One" (Ten Speed Press, 2011).
Tested by Lori Aratani.
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