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Mark Bittman’s Favorite Vegetarian Paella

I’ve never really eaten a paella because I’m just not much of a seafood eater. But I just watched the latest Mark Bittman video over at the New York Times and I’ve just become a paella convert.

Bittman suggests a much simpler version of the famously extravagant meat and fish-laden rice dish. His is Paella with Tomatoes. I am already a huge fan of tomato-based rice dishes but this paella, rich with saffron and smoked paprika and topped with lightly seasoned fresh tomatoes, looks absolutely amazing.

The cooking process is identical to that used in any paella: soften some onion in oil, add seasonings (including saffron, if you have it), rice and liquid, and cook. Adding lightly seasoned tomatoes is the major difference in this recipe. —Mark Bittman, New York Times 09/05/2007

This seems like the perfect dish for those end-of-summer tomatoes and I will be making it as soon as I get my hands on some!

Bittman says you can substitute any paprika or chili powder for the Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón) but if you’ve never tried it, I highly suggest seeking out the smoked variety. I buy mine from The Spice House and find myself using it all the time in everything from barbecue rubs to compound butters. It’s especially good sprinkled on deviled eggs!

I’ll let you know how it turns out and if any of the rest of you make this dish, let me know!

Update: I knew I wasn’t the only one who fell in love with this paella! Luisa over at The Wednesday Chef just made a gorgeous Tomato Paella and blogged about it, complete with beautiful photos. Go check it out now!