Being born in Buenos Aires and growing up with Argentine parents, I cherish most Argentine recipes and customs. My mother and my two aunts would always make paella during the holidays. Yes, paella is a staple dish in Argentina. Along with the USA, Argentina is a melting pot of cultures. We get pizza, pasta, and Milanese from the Italians, amazing wines and vineyards from the French, pastel de papa (shepherd’s pie) and high tea from the British and flan, churros, empanadas and paella from the Spanish. Paella is the perfect dish for large gatherings. My husband and I have made it on several occasions for family and friends, especially on Christmas eve. I'm sharing two recipes today. The first one is a little more elaborate and the second one is a simplified version, which is closer to the one we make. I also like to include chicken and mussels with the shrimp and chorizo (I like spicy Italian sausage). In my book, paella should also always include saffron, Spanish paprika, Arborio rice and then be finished off with peas, parsley and slices of roasted red peppers.
This summer by friend Mandy celebrated her 40th birthday with a paella party in her back yard. My Paella Party, a local paella specialist here in Costa Mesa, cooked up the whole feast. It was fabulous! They even included fresh seabass that was caught earlier that day. They cooked it outdoors over an open flame and got the rice all crusty and delicious -- it was the perfect party food!