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Chef Jonathan Waxman’s Paella

Paella may seem intimidating. It’s a dish that encourages you to let the rice get crispy and browned without stirring the pan. Plus, it’s filled with the most amazing seafood cooked in a homemade broth. Still nervous? Chef Jonathan Waxman is here to help you conquer your fears (and this dish) and in the end, you’ll impress all of your friends.

Serves 4 to 6


For the shrimp and fish bone broth:
1 1/2 pounds head-on shrimp
1 pound fish bones
1 cup rosé wine, preferably Robert Sinskey Vin Gris
2 cups boiling water
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 bunch parsley

For the paella:
6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 cup diced, seeded Hatch chilies or poblanos
5 portobello mushrooms, diced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 pinches saffron
1 pound bass or rock cod filets, skin on, cut into 1-ounce pieces
8 cherrystone clams
10 mussels
2 lemons, sliced into wedges, for garnish

For the aioli:
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons minced roasted red peppers
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon Espelette pepper


1. Make the broth: Remove heads from shrimp. Set bodies aside for paella. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low, sauté shrimp heads, fish bones, and rose wine. Add in boiling water, and bring to a boil. Add bay leaves and parsley. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 45 minutes. Strain, discard solids, and keep hot.

2. Make the paella: In a 16-inch, cast iron pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic, onions, chiles, and mushrooms and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Add another 2 tablespoons olive oil and the rice. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 2 cups broth. Bring to a boil and then a rolling simmer. Add the paprika, saffron, fish, reserved shrimp, clams, and mussels. Add up to 2 cups broth, if needed.

4. Cook, without stirring or covering, until rice is tender, fish and shrimp are cooked, and clams and mussels have opened, about 25 to 30 minutes.

5. Make the aioli: In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, smashed garlic, roasted peppers, and yolks; slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking furiously until it resembles a mayonnaise. Season with salt and espelette pepper.

6. To serve: Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the paella and top with aioli. Serve with lemon wedges.

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