Love risotto? Try this Spanish creamy rice dish for dinner this week

Paella is a highlight of any summer party, in Spain or elsewhere, but it can be intimidating to cook a wide pot of rice until the bottom crisps up.

Creamy rice with shrimp and artichokes is one of the dishes in Omar Allibhoy’s “Spanish Made Simple.” Contributed by Martin Poole.

This creamy rice dish from Spanish celebrity chef Omar Allibhoy is similar to paella, but you stir it while it cooks to create a more risotto-like dish that’s perfect for a summer picnic or potluck. Allibhoy uses fresh artichokes, but if you don’t live in a place like Spain where baby artichokes are readily available, you would be better off using canned artichoke hearts. Squid isn’t your style? Skip it and use a few more shrimp.

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Creamy Rice with Shrimp and Artichokes

1 pound fresh squid, cleaned (you can ask your fishmonger to do this for you)
10 baby artichokes, stalks trimmed and outer leaves removed (or canned and drained artichoke hearts)
3 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 onion, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet pimentón (sweet smoked paprika)
2 tomatoes (about 10 ounces total), grated
2 teaspoon saffron threads
2 quarts shellfish stock
Heaped 2 cups paella rice, such as bomba, bahia or senia
1 pound fresh shrimp, heads and shells removed

Roughly chop the squid tube, wings and tentacles. Cut the artichoke hearts into quarters and scrape away any of the furry choke with a teaspoon. (If you do this step in advance, squeeze over some lemon juice and keep them in cold water to stop them going dark and oxidizing.)

Place a large wide pan over a high heat and add the olive oil, squid and salt. Allow the squid to release its liquid and let it evaporate before adding the onion and artichoke, stirring constantly so that everything browns nicely.

Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute before adding the sweet pimentón. Stir again and cook for 30 seconds, then add the grated tomatoes. If the garlic or pimentón start to burn, add the tomatoes a little earlier. Add the saffron and stock and bring to the boil. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary; it should taste too salty at this stage as it will balance out once the rice is cooked.

Add the rice and cook for 5 minutes over the high heat, then reduce to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every now and then. Add the shrimp just 5 minutes before the rice is ready. The rice should have released a lot of starch with the stirring, making the texture thick and dense, like a risotto. Serves 5.

— From “Spanish Made Simple” by Omar Allibhoy (Quadrille, $24.99)


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