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How To Cook The Perfect Paella In Just Under An Hour

September 2016Words by Mr Tom M Ford

Photograph by Mr Martin Bruno

We’re in a bit of a transitional period at the moment in terms of the seasons. Well, certainly at MR PORTER HQ, anyway. Autumn has not yet begun to seriously tighten its chilly grip, but summer is on the wane and is, quite frankly, holding on for dear life. So, what exactly should we be cooking at home if we want to entertain friends and family at this time of year?

Paella, of course. Now, when you think of paella, you may immediately imagine yourself spooning down mouthfuls while sipping a dry rosé in the baking heat on a balcony on the coast of Spain somewhere – it can undoubtedly be seen very much as a summer dish. But with a seemingly infinite number of interpretations (we’re sure every Spanish madre has her own signature recipe), it is also essentially a big, hearty stew into which almost any ingredients can be added. So it is a very versatile ­– and pleasingly comforting – dish requiring little finesse. And it feeds a lot of mouths.

To ascertain what we should be throwing into our paella’s, and how we should be cooking them – we asked Mr José Pizarro – chef and owner of three eponymous Spanish restaurants around London (and therefore a man who perhaps knows more about making this Valencian classic than anyone), to share his recipe.