Recently I noticed paella made with pasta instead of rice at a Catalonian restaurant in Miami. The chef told me it's a centuries-old dish from the Mediterranean areas of Spain.

Paella made with saffron-flavored rice takes at least 20 minutes to cook. Using orzo, a rice shaped pasta, this version takes only 8 minutes. It captures the flavors of the longer-cooking paella without the effort.

Saffron, which is sold powdered or in threads, provides a delicate, aromatic flavor. Turmeric or bijol can be used instead.

Spanish-style chorizo is a smoked sausage flavored with garlic and paprika. (Don't substitute Mexican chorizo, a fresh sausage.)

Open a bag of washed, ready to-eat salad and serve with your favorite salad dressing to complete this quick dinner.

Fred Tasker's wine suggestion: I'd drink a rioja with the Spanish-inspired dish.


Makes 2 servings

1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon saffron

1 cup chopped frozen onion

1 cup sliced zucchini

2 ounces diced chorizo sausage (about 1/2 cup)

2/3 cup orzo

1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup drained, sliced roasted red pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring chicken broth, water and saffron to a boil in a medium-size, nonstick skillet. Add onion, zucchini, chorizo and orzo. Stir, bring back to a boil and cook 5 minutes. (If not using a nonstick pan, stir often to keep orzo from sticking.) If pan becomes dry, add more broth. Add asparagus, peas and roasted red pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition information per serving: 439 calories (26 percent from fat), 12.5g fat (4.4g saturated, 5.4g monounsaturated), 25mg cholesterol, 20.9g protein, 62.4g carbohydrates, 8.1g fiber, 370mg sodium

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. And share with us - we love to hear eyewitness accounts.

You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.