The first time I made Mark Bittman’s tomato paella there was so much that I ate it every day for over a week. Near the end, my desperation drove me try to transform it by rolling it into balls and frying it. Just like risotto balls, I thought. More like greasy unraveling lumps of rice, it turned out.
I was prepared this time and decided to share a pan of orange and green olive paella at a potluck. I like less rice and more other stuff in my paella, so I increased the amount of fruit and decided to throw in a roasted beet. The result is savory, slightly sweet, and very pretty.
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian:
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
Large pinch of saffron
3 peeled oranges, sliced cross-wise into wheels
20-25 green olives, pitted and sliced
1 large beet, roasted, peeled, and diced
Salt and pepper
1 onion, minced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups short-grained rice (I use arborio)
2 tsp smoked paprika
Parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 450. Warm the stock and saffron in a saucepan over low heat. Toss the olives and oranges in a bowl with a splash olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put the beets in another small bowl and do the same (if you put everything in the same bowl the oranges and olives will turn a weird shade of pink).
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Saute the onion until soft, add the garlic, some salt and pepper and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the tomato paste and paprika and cook for another minute. Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes, then pour the stock in and stir until combined. Adjust salt at this point.
Spread the beets out over the rice/stock mixture. Arrange the orange slices and olives on top and drizzle any juices from the bowls over the top. Put the pan in the oven and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Check if the rice is done and dry; if not, add a bit more water or stock and cook for another 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy.
Serves a lot. I’d say 8.