The first time I had paella goes way, way back. I was living in Washington DC; an eager young staffer working on Capitol Hill, having the time of her life. One of my colleagues (on the other side of the aisle no less…things were pretty civilized back then), hosted a paella party. It was a casual event that was completely elevated by the food. There were huge pans full of paella cooked outside and lots of sangria.
I’ve loved paella ever since. And have enjoyed hosting dinner parties over the years with a spanish/tapas theme. Although paella is traditionally made with seafood, it lends itself well to all kinds of vegetables. Recently, I tried out Gwenyth Paltrow’s Vegetable Paella recipe from her cookbook, My Father’s Daughter. It’s amazing! I improvised a bit and made it my own by adding oyster mushrooms and squash blossoms from the farmers market.