|YIELDS: 6 Servings||PREP TIME: 20 mins||COOK TIME: 45 mins||TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 5 mins|
5 cups vegetable broth
2 generous pinches saffron (about 1 teaspoon), optional
4 to 5 small (baby) artichokes
Juice from 1 lemon
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
1 red onion, finely-chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 pound wild or cremini mushrooms, or a mixture, trimmed and quartered or cut (or torn, if using oyster mushrooms) into thick slices
2 large garlic cloves or 1 bulb spring garlic, minced
2 cups medium grain rice, preferably Spanish or arborio rice
Minced Italian parsley, for garnish
Aioli, for serving
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic
Paella pan or large cast iron pan
- Massage the saffron with your thumb and fingers and place the saffron granules in a ramekin or small bowl. Cover with 2 tablespoons hot water.
- To prepare the artichokes, remove all tough outer leaves and trim to expose the tender bottoms. Cut into quarters, removing the chokes if they have developed, and cut in wedges no thicker than 1/2 inch at the thickest point. Place in a bowl of water with lemon juice. When ready to use, drain and dry on paper towels.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
- Add the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to sweat. Scrape the bottom of the pan as the mushrooms release their liquid to deglaze. Add the garlic and continue cooking, stirring often, until the garlic is fragrant and the mushrooms and artichokes are tender. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Transfer everything to a large bowl.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, and once hot, add the rice. Stir over medium heat until the rice begins to crackle and is thoroughly coated with oil. Continue to cook until the rice feels heavy and begins to stick to the pan, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Stir the artichoke-mushroom mix back into the rice, saving a bit for garnish. Add the saffron, broth (rinse out the ramekin with a little broth), and season with salt to taste (if your broth was salty, you may not need any additional salt). Reduce heat to low and simmer until the broth has been absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- While the paella simmers, prepare the aioli by running the garlic cloves through a garlic press (or very finely mincing) and combining with the mayonnaise in a small bowl. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Leave the paella over the heat until the rice begins to stick to the bottom, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cover tightly. Set the paella aside to rest for 10 minutes. Check the rice at the edges of the pan and, if not quite chewy enough, stir toward the middle, cover again and set aside for another 10 minutes.
- To serve, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and garnish with the reserved mushrooms/artichoke mixture and fresh parsley. Serve with aioli and enjoy!