Seafood Paella


  • Prep Time30 mins
  • Total Time2 hrs
  • Makes4 servings
Seafood Paella

Recipe and Food Styling by Eshun Mott; Produced by Aimee Nishitoba; Photography by Christie Vuong; Prop Styling by Nicole Billark.

There are more vegetables in this paella than you might find in a traditional recipe, making it a satisfying, one-pot meal. And don’t sweat the timing on the seafood: Let it cook in the liquid with the rice and remove it as soon as it’s done, adding it back in for serving. Achieving the crunchy layer of rice on the bottom of the pan, also known as the socarrat, takes some practice. You don’t have to aim for the socarrat on your very first try—remember that a perfectly cooked paella is always going to be better than a burnt one! — Eshun Mott


  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided

  • 1 cup finely chopped onions

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper

  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic

  • 1 1⁄2 tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 1 28-oz (796 mL) can Italian plum tomatoes, with juices, squished into small pieces

  • salt, to taste

  • 8 oz (16 to 20/lb) extra-jumbo shrimp, peeled (shells reserved)

  • 1 L unsalted fish stock

  • 1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads

  • 8 oz cleaned calamari tubes, cut in 1/2-in.-thick rings

  • 150 g (about 1 cup) dried Spanish chorizo sausage, cut in 1/2-in. dice

  • 1 1⁄2 cups red pepper, cut in 1-in.-long strips

  • 1 1⁄2 cups 1-in.-pieces Italian flat beans, a.k.a. pole beans

  • 1 1⁄2 cups bomba or other paella rice

  • 8 oz pasta clams (such as littleneck) and/or mussels

  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges

Sofrito for a seafood paella cooking in a pan
    1. Sofrito: Heat 1⁄4 cup oil in a medium pot over medium-low. Add onions and cook until softened but not browned, 5 to 6 min. Add green pepper and cook until very soft, 10 min. Add garlic and paprika and sauté for 1 min longer. Add wine, bring to a boil and cook until almost evaporated, 4 min. Stir in tomatoes and cook gently for 30 min, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick and concentrated (you should have about 2 cups). Season with salt. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze, defrosting before use.
Shrimp shells cooking in stock for a seafood paella recipe
    1. Paella: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium pot over medium. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring, for 3 min, until shells are bright pink and smell toasty. Add stock and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until stock is flavourful, 10 min. Discard shrimp shells. Add saffron to stock and keep warm.
Calamari cooking in a paella pan for a seafood paella recipe
    1. Add 1 tbsp oil to a large paella or cast iron pan over medium-high. Season calamari with salt and sauté for 1 to 2 min, until lightly browned but just slightly undercooked (it will finish cooking as it sits). Remove to a plate and set aside.
Chorizo, red pepper, beans, and rice cooking in a paella pan for a seafood paella recipe
    1. Add chorizo to pan and cook until lightly browned and beginning to release fat, 2 min. Add remaining 2 tbsp oil, red pepper strips and beans, and sauté for 3 min longer, until lightly browned and blistered in places. Add 1 cup sofrito and stir to heat through. Add rice and stir for 2 min, until rice is coated. Add 3 1⁄2 cups of saffron-infused stock and taste, adding some more salt if needed. Stir to evenly distribute ingredients and then don’t stir again. Bring to a vigorous simmer over medium and cook for 10 min.
Seafood paella cooking in a pan
    1. Add clams and press down to submerge in liquid, adding more stock if needed. Turn heat to low and simmer gently for 5 min. Add shrimp and mussels (if using) and cook for 5 to 7 min, turning seafood (but avoiding stirring rice), until shrimp turn pink and clams and mussels open. Remove seafood to a plate when cooked and set aside. Continue to cook just until liquid has been absorbed and rice is done with a hint of al dente in centre.
Seafood paella topped with mussels, shrimps, clams, and lemon wedges
  1. For a crunchy bottom (the socarrat), turn up the heat slightly for 1 to 2 min to dry out edges (listen for the sound of the rice sizzling and remove from heat if you smell the slightest whiff of smoke). Remove from heat and cover loosely with foil; let stand for 10 min. Pile the seafood on top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Kitchen tip

This recipe makes double the amount of sofrito you’ll need, so freeze the leftovers for a quick paella another day.

Get our guide to pulling off a paella at home

There’s something about the mix of saffron and tomato-tinged rice and meat or seafood that just feels special—but the truth is, it’s easy enough to make a paella at home.