Got any remaining summer tomatoes in need of a good final resting place? Consider this tomato paella published in Mark Bittman’s NYT food column, The Minimalist, several weeks ago. One of the first non-seafood paellas I’ve ever had, this dish has a freshness and “greenness” that most paellas lack, thanks to the addition of large wedges of vine-ripened tomatoes. I used the last of our homegrown batch here, and am happy to report that this paella will leave me with happy memories of this summer’s bounty.
Beyond that, it turns out that paella is a cinch to make and thus perfect for low-key entertaining. A great dish to feed a crowd, this one will please vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, and since it’s mostly hands off, with leave you with plenty of time to mingle. And isn’t that the point of entertaining, after all?
Below I’ve posted the recipe as originally intended, but of course there was a little futzing around on my part. I used Arborio rice, with good results, and, not knowing where one would find pimenton, I substituted the standard sweet paprika you find at the supermarket. I also had no white wine and decided to replace all of the liquid with a pretty dilute chicken broth. Changes or no, give this one a try if you’re lucky enough to have any summer tomatoes remaining.
Paella With Tomatoes (4 to 6 servings)
3 1/2 cups stock or water
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into thick wedges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Large pinch saffron threads (optional)
2 teaspoons Spanish pimentón (smoked paprika), or other paprika
2 cups Spanish or other short-grain rice
Minced parsley or basil for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Warm stock or water in a saucepan. Put tomatoes in a medium bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat.
2. Put remaining oil in a 10- or 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, saffron if you are using it, and paprika and cook for a minute more. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is shiny, another minute or two. Add liquid and stir until just combined.
3. Put tomato wedges on top of rice and drizzle with juices that accumulated in bottom of bowl. Put pan in oven and roast, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Check to see if rice is dry and just tender. If not, return pan to oven for another 5 minutes. If rice looks too dry but still is not quite done, add a small amount of stock or water (or wine). When rice is ready, turn off oven and let pan sit for 5 to 15 minutes.
4. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with parsley. If you like, put pan over high heat for a few minutes to develop a bit of a bottom crust before serving.