Main Course:Paella


During the month of September, we transition our palettes from the light fruit and veggie-infused dishes of summer, to heartier flavorful fall meals.  I can think of nothing better than a wonderful paella recipe bursting with seafood to gently take your taste buds into the autumn!

I’m sure you will agree that not only is paella a delicious dish, but the red and orange bell peppers and yellow saffron – which mirror the colors of the changing leaves – will make paella the perfect dish to decorate your September dinner table.

Life is sweet, so eat well and enjoy!

Chef Arturo Vargas



  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red and orange bell pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 4 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound of raw shrimp, (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined, with the tails left on
  • I dozen of hard-shell clams
  • 1 dozen of mussels
  • 10 ounces of raw spicy turkey or chicken sausage links
  • 4 cups of reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon of crumbled saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • ½ cup of minced fresh parsley
  • 2 cups of short-grain white rice, preferably Arborio or Valencia
  • 1/2 cup of frozen baby peas, thawed
  • 1/4 of cup halved, pitted, briny black olives
  • 1/4 of cup halved, pitted, briny green olives
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Equipment needed:

Three 12-inch skewers; One 13-inch paella pan or one large high-sided skillet


Method of Preparation:

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Grill the bell peppers, turning occasionally, until softened and charred in spots – about 8 minutes.

Coat onion slices lightly with olive oil spray and grill – flipping once – until slightly softened and you see them beginning to caramelize – about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer the peppers to a plastic bag and let it steam until cool enough to handle. Peel off the skins; discard the stems and seeds. Chop the peppers and onion.

Thread shrimp onto the three 12-inch skewers and lightly coat with olive oil spray.

Heat the oil in a 13-inch paella pan or large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, onion and garlic and cook – stirring, until fragrant – 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in broth, saffron and salt.  Bring to a boil.

Add rice.  Stir to combine and spread to form a thin, even layer in the pan.

Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook the rice – uncovered – for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, fold the outside portions of the rice into the center of the pan to ensure even cooking. Continue simmering, without stirring, for about 10 minutes more – until the rice looks dry and is just tender. Watch carefully and be prepared to shift the pan partially off the burner, as necessary, to keep the rice cooking at the same rate and to prevent burning.

Meanwhile, place the skewered shrimp, clams, mussels and sausage on the grill. Grill the shrimp until firm and pink – about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from the skewers and place in a large bowl.

Grill the clams and mussels until their shells pop open – about 2 to 4 minutes total.  Add to the bowl with the shrimp, keeping them level to avoid losing their juices.

Grill the sausage, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 10 to 14 minutes. When cool enough to handle, thinly slice and add to the bowl with the rest of the seafood.

When the rice is done, remove from the heat, cover with a lid or heavy kitchen towel, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Gently stir in peas and black and green olives. Scatter the sausage and seafood plus any accumulated juices over the rice and sprinkle with parsley.





A native of Acapulco, Mexico, Chef Arturo Vargas is a respected health educator and owner of Northern California’s Taste for the Senses Catering. Arturo was formally trained in the culinary arts in Mexico. Prior to opening his catering company, he served as chef in some of San Francisco, California’s finest restaurants, and facilitated healthy cooking classes and workshops for organizations such as the University of California, Davis, the American Heart Association, and Whole Foods Market. His culinary expertise has been featured in several publications, including Sacramento Magazine, Luxe Life magazine and on

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