Recently I noticed paella made with pasta instead of rice at a Catalonian restaurant in Miami. The chef told me it’s a centuries-old dish from the Mediterranean areas of Spain.
Paella made with saffron-flavored rice takes at least 20 minutes to cook. Using orzo, a rice shaped pasta, this version takes only 8 minutes. It captures the flavors of the longer-cooking paella without the effort.
Saffron, which is sold powdered or in threads, provides a delicate, aromatic flavor. Turmeric or bijol can be used instead.
Spanish-style chorizo is a smoked sausage flavored with garlic and paprika. (Don’t substitute Mexican chorizo, a fresh sausage.)
Open a bag of washed, ready-to-eat salad and serve with your favorite salad dressing to complete this quick dinner.
Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: I’d drink a rioja with the Spanish-inspired dish.
▪ Any combination of vegetables can be used such as green beans or sugar snap peas.
▪ Start paella.
▪ While paella cooks, assemble salad.
▪ Complete paella.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes.
To buy: 2 medium zucchini, 1/2 pound asparagus, 2 ounces chorizo sausage, 1 small jar or can roasted red peppers, 1 bag washed, ready-to-eat salad, 1 small container pitted black olives, 1 small package orzo, 1 small package frozen peas and 1 package saffron.
Staples: Fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, chopped frozen onion, reduced-fat dressing, salt and black peppercorns.
PAELLA PRIMAVERA WITH CHORIZO
1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1 cup chopped frozen onion
1 cup sliced zucchini
2 ounces diced chorizo sausage (about 1/2 cup)
2/3 cup orzo
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup drained, sliced roasted red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring chicken broth, water and saffron to a boil, in a medium-size, nonstick skillet. Add onion, zucchini, chorizo and orzo. Stir, bring back to a boil and cook 5 minutes. (If not using a nonstick pan, stir often to keep orzo from sticking.) If pan becomes dry, add more broth. Add asparagus, peas and roasted red pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Per serving: 439 calories (26 percent from fat), 12.5 g fat (4.4 g saturated, 5.4 g monounsaturated), 25 mg cholesterol, 20.9 g protein, 62.4 g carbohydrates, 8.1 g fiber, 370 mg sodium.
Makes 2 servings.
OLIVE AND LETTUCE SALAD
4 cups washed, ready-to-eat salad
8 pitted black olives
2 tablespoons reduced fat dressing
Place lettuce in bowl, add olives and toss with dressing.
Per serving: 47 calories (60 percent from fat), 3.1 g fat (0.4 g saturated, 1.7 g monounsaturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 1.4 g protein, 4.9 g carbohydrates, 2.4 g fiber, 140 mg sodium.
Makes 2 servings.