The Perfect Paella with Lemon Garlic Aioli

by Lauren


Many things take quite a bit of effort and time but are always worth the wait.

Last night we made Almond Butter, Honey and Banana Bread and let me tell you somethin’…quick breads are not that quick. Seriously, 50 minutes in the oven?! But, it was worth the wait.

Chris recently built an Earth box and planted some vegetables in it for me…using seedlings. Someday, it’ll be worth the wait.


My mom would most likely say that the effort in raising me for 18 years was worth the wait. Most likely…

Christmas time. Aaaah Christmas. Definitely worth the wait.

Also, Summer. Totally worth enduring Winter months (although, those in Wisconsin may disagree).

Retirement. Right? I guess I wouldn’t know but I bet it is.


The right guy/girl to share a life with is always worth the wait. Duh.

When your accidental online shopping binge finally arrives on the door step.

And last but not least, THIS meal is sooo worth the wait.

Yes, it’s a teensy bit time consuming and a little bit overwhelming to look at the recipe but I would not be sharing this gem with you if it wasn’t well worth the time, effort and the wait that you’ll put into it!


Chris’s mom, Patty, has spent years perfecting this recipe and by george, she’s got it. This is The Perfect Paella.

I’ve now seen these three things happen each time she makes it:

1. Guests literally gravel and beg her to make it when they visit.

2. The room goes silent with the first bite and proceeds with a *Sigh* followed by “Mmmmm”.

3. Everybody asks for the recipe and everybody loves it.


There are four steps that are neatly broken down below and Patty was gracious enough to share each one with me (and therefore…you)! Enjoy.

The Perfect Paella with Lemon Garlic Aioli

Serves 8-10 people

1. Lemon Garlic Aoili
This part can be done a day ahead!


8 oz. boiling potatoes

6-8 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon sea salt

5 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon fresh pepper

1/2 cup olive oil


Peel potato and cut into quarters, boil till tender (about 15 min.) Drain and reserve liquid. Crush garlic with sea salt in mortar until smooth. In a food processor, add potatoes and blend until smooth. Add garlic and sea salt mixture, lemon juice and pepper and slowly drizzle in olive oil while processing. If it’s too thick, thin with cooking liquid.

Set aside. Spoon a dollop on each serving of paella.

2. The Broth


1/2 teaspoon saffron

1 box + 1 can chicken broth

3 cups dry white wine


In saucepan, put in saffron toast gently over low heat until fragrant (about 2 min). Add wine, increase heat to med and cook until wine is reduced by half. Add stock, bring to boil and turn off heat. Keep warm until needed.


3. The Sofrito


1 cup diced onion

1 red or green bell pepper cut into strips

1 Tablespoon each dried (or fresh!) thyme & basil

1-12 oz can chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon cumin seed

1 bay leaf

1 Tablespoon minced garlic


In skillet heat 2 T olive oil. Add onion and pepper and cook until softened—about 2 min. Add tomatoes, thyme, basil, cumin seed, bay leaf and garlic. Season with S & P. Cook 5-7 min or until almost all liquid has evaporated. Set aside.


4. Assembling the Paella


8-10 chicken tenders, seasoned with salt and pepper

2.5 lbs. fresh mussels

4 lbs. fresh clams

15 shrimp, peeled and tails removed

15 scallops

1 lb. bag frozen seafood blend from Trader Joe’s, fresh white fish, or fresh lobster

12 oz. pork chorizo, casing removed

1 cup frozen peas

3 cups arborio rice

3 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat oven to 415.

In a very large paella pan heat olive oil over moderately high heat until hot. Add chicken strips that you have sprinkled with salt and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes on each side then transfer to plate. Cut into bite size pieces. (If the chicken is a little under-done, that’s OK, it will cook more while it’s in the oven.) Add the chorizo and cook till brown, about 10 minutes. Leave the chorizo in the pan.

Add chicken back to paella pan with chorizo. Add rice and sofrito mixture. Add broth and bring to simmer over high heat. Arrange shellfish and other seafood in pan and bake on lowest rack for 25-30 min. Add peas and cook 10 min more until liquid is absorbed and mussels have opened. Let paella stand, covered with dish towel for 5 minutes before serving.


From the Little Yellow Kitchen,


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6 Comments to “The Perfect Paella with Lemon Garlic Aioli”

  1. It definitely looks like perfect paella !

  2. Mmmmm, I love paella, but have not attempted making it myself yet. You may have convinced me it’s worth it…

  3. Lauren

    It’s sooo worth it 😉 Give this recipe a try!

  4. Lauren
  5. How much rice is needed for the recipe?

  6. Lauren

    3 cups of arborio! Sorry for the over sight :)