By: Ben Davis

Vegetable Paella

Sofrito

½         cup     extra virgin olive oil

4                      medium sized yellow onions, finely chopped

1                      red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1                      green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

5                      cloves garlic, finely minced

2          tbsp    tomato paste

Paella

2          cups   Spanish bomba rice (available at specialty stores)

4          cups   vegetable broth or water

2          tbsp    extra virgin olive oil

¼         cup     sofrito

1          pinch  saffron threads

2          tsp      Spanish smoked paprika

2          tsp      kosher salt

6          each    canned whole artichokes, halved lengthwise

2          each    small tomatoes, peeled, quartered and seeded

4          oz        fresh green beans, trimmed, blanched and shocked in ice water

2          each    red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and cut in thick strips

10       each    green olives

Lemon wedges and chopped Italian parsley for garnish

1.         To prepare the sofrito, heat the olive oil in a large heavy sauté pan until it starts to simmer lightly.  Add the onions, peppers, garlic and a little kosher salt. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to brown slightly. 

2.         Reduce the heat to medium low and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally for another 45 minutes or until the mixture is a rich color and very soft.

3.         Increase the heat slightly and add the tomato paste, stir well to combine and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove the mixture from the heat and chill well.  The sofrito can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.  This recipe will make approximately 2 cups and can be used as the base for paella, soups, stews and sauces.

4.         To prepare the paella, preheat the Wolf convection steam oven to 350oF in the Convection Humid mode.  Place the rice in a deep bowl and cover with cold water while swishing around using your fingertips.  Drain the water from the rice and repeat the rinsing two more times.  Drain the rice through a fine sieve and set aside.  Place the broth in a saucepan and warm over medium heat but do not boil.

5.         In a paella pan or other shallow pan that will fit into the oven heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the sofrito and stir well to soften.  Cook stirring constantly for about 2 minutes then add the saffron and smoked paprika and stir to toast the spices for about 30 seconds.  Add the rice and stir to coat with the sofrito and spices.  Add the hot broth and salt and stir briefly.  Place the pan into the convection steam oven with the wire rack in position 2.  Set the timer for 15 minutes and let the rice cook.

6.         When the timer is finished, carefully remove the pan from the oven and arrange the artichokes, green beans, peppers, tomatoes and olives over the top of the rice.  Return to the oven and let the paella bake for another 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and the vegetables are hot throughout. 

7.         Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes then sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.