Skillet Seafood Sausage Paella will make you look like a Master Chef when you put it on the table. Paella is a Spanish dish that combines saffron-flavored rice with seafood, meats, and vegetables. It’s a one-pot meal that is a pleasure to the eyes and tastes worthy of a king. Although it may look complicated, you will be surprised at how easy it is to make.
You will need at least a 12-inch heavy hard-anodized or cast iron skillet that is at least 2-1/2 inches deep or an equally wide heavy Dutch oven. I recommend prepping all of the ingredients in advance, because this recipe moves along fairly quickly. Read my notes below for variations and substitutions.
Skillet Seafood Sausage Paella Recipe
2 Italian sausage links
1-1/2 cups short-grain rice
2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 cup white wine
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup clam juice
1/2 cup diced sweet onions
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron (or 15 threads, crushed and broken or ground in a spice mill)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup frozen baby sweet peas (do not thaw)
1 pound large shrimp, thawed if frozen and peeled (tails on, optional)
1 dozen mussels
Parsley for garnish
Sear the sausage over medium heat in a heavy skillet until nicely browned. Do not prick the sausage! Don’t worry if it is not cooked all the way through, more cooking is to come. You just need a nice brown color. Remove the sausage and slice into 1-inch chunks. Set aside.
You will need a separate large, deep, heavy, skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven to prepare the paella. (Mine is 12 inches wide and 2-1/2 inches deep.) Heat the butter or olive oil in the skillet. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice just begins to turn white or opaque. Add white wine (be careful as it will boil up) and cook for 1 minute or until most of the wine has evaporated. Add chicken broth, clam juice, reserved sausage slices along with any accumulated juices, onions, garlic, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, and saffron. Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. No peeking!
Uncover and stir tomatoes, sweet peas, and shrimp into the rice. Bury the mussels halfway into the rice. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked and mussels have opened. (Discard any mussels that do not open.)
Sprinkle the seafood paella with chopped parsley and serve.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Skillet Seafood Sausage Paella Recipe Photo © 2017 Peggy Filippone
• Saffron is a distinctive part of paella. Technically, it is not paella without it. As such, you should avoid any substitution. However, if you must substitute saffron, use 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric + 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika. The flavor will not be as vibrant, but it will still be colorful and tastefully enjoyable. Too much turmeric can be pungent, so do not be tempted to overdo it.
• Fresh small clams (such as littlenecks or cherrystones) may be substituted for the mussels.
• Canned clams may also be substituted for the mussels.
• The peas are added at the end to retain their color and texture. Overcooked peas will turn dull and be mushy. Canned peas are not a desirable option.
• The shrimp and mussels are also added at the end to avoid overcooking.
• Chicken chunks may be substituted for the seafood or sausage or for half of the seafood or sausage. Brown the chicken as described for the sausage, then add back in with the sausage as directed in the instructions above. Chicken broth may be substituted for the clam juice.