As a chef, the most commonly asked question is, “What is your favorite dish to cook?” Sometimes I reply coyly with, “Whatever I am cooking right now.” But the truth is I have three favorites. First, I love making stock – chicken stock, veal stock, corn stock, etc. A good stock is one of the best ways to incorporate flavor to a dish.
The other two are risotto and paella. Both are rice dishes, but they’re so fundamentally different. Risotto is all about the cream and cheese, whereas with paella, in my opinion, the rice is made to shine more.
For this recipe use a good dry white wine, like Sonoma Cutrer’s Sonoma Coast Chardonnay to infuse the saffron, and of course a good home-made chicken stock. Depending on how much paprika and red chili flakes you add, you can manage the spice levels. I like to keep my heat lower because I want to taste the saffron and rice. One of the coolest parts about paella is cooking it in a paella pan. While it’s not necessary, you can always use a sauté pan, the flat bottom of the paella pan allows for even distribution of heat so that the rice cooks evenly. Plus, it happens to sit perfectly on top of a campfire.
Pair this with our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and you will surely leave the dinner table full and happy.