Saffron is one of the most prized and expensive spices on the planet. It's incredibly difficult to harvest because the spice is actually the stamen of the Crocus flower, which must be carefully plucked by hand. Saffron's unique, earthy flavor is only matched by the beautiful yellow tint it lends to this delicious rice dish. Fortunately, just a little bit goes a long way in a paella - a pinch of the good stuff brings out the best in this veggie-studded creamy rice dish.
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You Will Need
Prepare the Ingredients
Heat 3 cups of water in a medium pot over high heat. Add vegetable base and stir to dissolve. Throughly rinse produce and pat dry. Trim ends from green beans and cut into 1" pieces. Quarter cremini mushrooms. Drain artichokes and roasted red peppers. Thinly slice roasted red peppers.
Prepare Saffron Broth
Lower heat of boiling water to low and add saffron threads, pinching threads between thumb and forefinger to release as much of the flavor as possible. Keep broth warm while you begin paella.
Begin The Paella
Heat a large pan over medium heat. (Pan ideally should be wide, shallow and heavy bottomed.) Heat 2 tsp. of olive oil and add mushrooms and green beans. Season with paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
Add the Rice
Add rice and tomatoes to pan. Stir to coat rice and cook until grains look slightly translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add saffron broth and stir once. (This is not risotto, so resist the urge to stir constantly!)
Finish The Paella
After about 15 minutes, distribute peas, roasted pepper and artichoke hearts over the top of the paella. Again, don't stir! Continue simmering about 10 more minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
Plate the Dish
Paella is traditionally served family style, so you can place it directly at the dinner table (using a trivet or potholder to protect your table.)
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