Recipe By Chef John
Published Jul 15th
Prep 15m Cook 55m Additional - Ready In 70m
Servings 6 servings Calories 476.4

Consider this a gateway paella and the first step to a serious, lifelong addiction. When I first do a version of a classic dish like paella, I try to use a minimum number of ingredients and steps to focus on technique. After learning the method, you’ll ideally use a wider variety of ingredients, like clams, mussels, squid, and chicken, which will make your rice that much more interesting. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil, freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, and lemon wedges.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads, or more to taste
  • 2 ¼ cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces chorizo sausage, sliced into thin rounds
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ⅓ cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup green peas
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Cook and stir reserved shrimp shells and 2 teaspoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until shells are pink and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir saffron into shells; add chicken broth, bring to a simmer, and cook until broth is a rusty brown and fragrant, about 20 minutes.
  2. 2 Strain saffron broth through a fine-mesh sieve; measure out 2 cups of broth, pour into a small saucepan, and place over low heat to keep broth hot.
  3. 3 Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  4. 4 Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Cook chorizo slices in hot oil until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Add onion to sausage; cook and stir until soft and slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  5. 5 Stir garlic into chorizo mixture; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice to skillet and stir to coat rice completely in oil; stir in peas.
  6. 6 Pat rice mixture evenly into the bottom of the skillet. Arrange shrimp in a single layer over the top of the rice. Lay pepper strips around and in between shrimp; season with salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
  7. 7 Increase heat to high. When rice begins to sizzle in the skillet, pour reserved 2 cups hot saffron broth over the shrimp; gently shake the skillet to distribute liquid.
  8. 8 Bake rice mixture in the preheated oven until rice is almost tender and still a bit wet, about 20 minutes.
  9. 9 Place skillet over medium-high and cook until rice is tender, liquid is absorbed, and rice caramelizes and crusts slightly on the bottom of the skillet, 3 to 5 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 476.4
  • Carbohydrate 46.9 g
  • Cholesterol 150.2 mg
  • Fat 19.3 g
  • Fiber 2 g
  • Protein 26.4 g
  • Saturated Fat 6.2 g
  • Sodium 975.1 mg
  • Sugar 2.7 g

Chef's Notes

You can substitute smoked paprika for the paprika; You can use hot chicken broth in place of the hot saffron broth; You can use any smoky, spicy sausage in place of the chorizo sausage.


  1. This was the first time I made paella and turned out wonderful! Followed the recipe almost exactly only used green bell pepper instead of red and kielbasa sausage for the Spanish chorizo. Also I had to add a little water after taking it out of the oven (but maybe that was because I ended up - Read more ...
  2. I don't think I have ever made a dish in my life more perfect. I am a man. I was single for 40 years before I met my wife. I made what sounded good to me. I am 60 years old. before my wife had a stroke 8 years ago we took turns, I cooked - Read more ...
  3. Came out great did not follow recipe exactly made some subs used Sazon con azafran ground chorizo medium grain rice and added diced chicken breast. Added shrimp at end when finishing on stove added liquid as needed. Came out nice and creamy great flavor. Disappeared would make again
  4. I followed this recipe exactly as written and my rice didn't cook in the time specified and my shrimp was way overcooked. I thought 20 minutes in the oven with shrimp was a little too long. I should have added them in the last 10 minutes of cooking. The flavor was great with the saffron - Read more ...
  5. I have never had Paella before so I am not sure what it is supposed to taste like. I used both Saffron (more than required) and smoked paprika and found it bland. I didn't change anything else except for the shrimp skins - I didn't have any. That may be the difference. Other than that - Read more ...
  6. This base paella recipe was fantastic. The use of shrimp stock from the skins I think was the most important thing and a technique I'm happy to add to repertoire. I didn't bother with the saffron and ended up using long grain rice which resulted in a different cooking time. I also used andouille sausage - Read more ...
  7. Very tasty. Definitely will make this again !
  8. My whole family loved it! I did use Pepperoni instead of the recipe sausage. I also used 2 lbs of medium shrimp instead of Jumbo shrimp. I used my regular "Jasmine" white rice and used their required amount of liquid. I think it took a little longer than your time required to soften after baking. - Read more ...
  9. Not too quick not too easy but well worth it!
  10. First let me say the only thing I changed in the recipe is that I used 6 ounces of bulk chorizo because that's what I had on hand. Otherwise, I followed the recipe and technique exactly. This recipe was awesome! I was a little worried about shrimp being overdone at 20 minutes in the oven, - Read more ...

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