Author: Alex Recker

This paella recipe is a Chef John classic. Traditional paella is made with a special paella dish, but I find that it works just as well with a large cast iron skillet (but any heavy bottom, shallow, oven safe pan should do). Take the following ingredients only as a recommendation, as it pretty much works with any vegetables you have at your disposal. Apart from the rice and broth, the quantities listed here are very flexible, so just use whatever you know will fit in your trusty skillet.


  • raw shrimp, shells set aside (1 lb)
  • chicken broth (2.25 cups)
  • saffron (3-4 threads)2
  • olive oil (ex)
  • sausage, diced (8 oz)
  • yellow onion, diced (1/2)
  • garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • bell pepper, diced
  • white rice, medium grain (1.3 cups)
  • paprika (ex)
  • salt (ex)
  • olive oil (ex)


  1. Sautee the shrimp shells in olive oil until they turn red and smell fragrant. Add the safron and toss. Add all the chicken broth and simmer for twenty minutes. Strain out the shrimp shells and set aside, keeping it warm in a pan.

  2. Pre-heat the oven to 425F.

  3. Add olive oil to a large, flat cast iron pan. Brown the diced sausage in medium heat. Remove the sausage and set aside, but leave the fat in the pan.

  4. Add diced onion. Sweat, but do not brown (there should be enough fat rendered out of the sausage to prevent browning).

  5. Add bell pepper1. Sweat for a few minutes until tender. Turn up the heat if the pan is getting crowded. Add salt to taste.

  6. Add the garlic, along with pepper and paprika. Stir to combine and leave on the heat until the spices smell fragrant. Add the sausage back into the pan and mix. Finally, add all the rice and stir.

  7. Add exactly 2 cups of the warmed infused chicken broth to the pan all at once. Avoid stirring the mixture from here on out, but give it a little shake if you need to level it out. All the rice should be patted flat, under the surface of the liquid. Turn the heat all the way up, and while you wait for the mixture to simmer, arrange the shrimp around the top of the dish, pressing them into the rice.

  8. Once the mixture is simmering (or once you're done arranging the shrimp), carefully place in the oven uncovered. Bake for 20 minutes.

  9. Remove the skillet from the oven and place it back on the stove. Cook over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool.

  10. Top with fresh parsley and a glug of olive oil. Serve with a wedge of lemon. Be sure to include some of the bottom Socarrat (burnt caramelized bits) on every plate.


  1. Also works well with carrots, celery, parsnip, and pretty much any other vegetable you have at your disposal. Just make small cuts so they cook quickly and evenly. 

  2. Sometimes hard to find or a little pricy. If you're not concerned about making something that's authentic, feel free to skip this.