Artichoke and Cannellini Paella
This is in all honesty my favorite kind of paella. It is hearty, exploding with flavor, and nourishing for the soul. The artichoke and cannellini make it both savory and rich. The result is a paella that is vibrant and festive, making it perfect for serving crowds. Its flavors are further enhanced by saffron, pimentón dulce, and roasted red pepper. The paella rice is typically left with a bite, but add about another 5 minutes of cooking time if you prefer it softer.
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium jarred roasted red peppers, finely chopped (see Notes)
- 1 large carrot, finely chopped
- Pinch plus 2 tsp (10 g) fine sea salt, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 anchovies, finely chopped, optional
- 5 large cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 pitted manzanilla olives
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon pimentón dulce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Pinch of saffron (about 20 threads), soaked in 2 tbsp (30 ml) boiling water
- 2 cups (240 g) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
- 1 1/2 cup (300 g) paella rice such as Bomba, not rinsed
- 4 cups (960 ml) low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup (10 g) packed cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cup (130 g) cannellini beans, cooked or canned, drained
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice, for topping
- Aleppo chili flakes, for topping
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- 1/2 cup (10 g) fresh parsley, finely chopped, for topping
Heat the olive oil in a large, shallow pan or paella pan—I use a 13-inch (33-cm) pan—over medium heat. Stir in the onion, red peppers, carrot, a generous pinch of salt, and pepper. Sauté the base vegetables for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the anchovies if desired, garlic, bay leaf, olives, tomatoes, pimentón dulce, cumin, fennel, saffron, and artichoke, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Then stir in the rice, cook for 3 minutes, and add the stock, 2 teaspoons (10 g) of salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir the rice occasionally during the next 10 minutes and then add the cilantro and cannellini beans. Stir gently for 5 minutes, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Add liquid as needed to keep the rice moist. It will take 22 to 25 minutes total, depending on how much of a bite you want in the grain. Remove the bay leaf. Top with fresh parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, chili flakes, and lemon wedges. Serve at once!
Mushrooms and asparagus are also delicious vegetable options for this style of paella.
Feel free to substitute a fresh red bell pepper for the jarred roasted red pepper.
Reprinted with permission from Mediterranea by Hanady Nabut. Page Street Publishing Co. 2022. Photo credit: Hanady Nabut.