Paella with Pasta, serves 2, preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 30 minutes.
150 ml olive oil
200 g fideos (thin, short angel hair pasta) or any angel hair pasta broken into 2-cm lengths
1 fresh squid (about 350g), cleaned and chopped into 1-cm pieces
10 peeled prawns, defrosted if frozen
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
Pinch of saffron
1/2 teaspoon sweet pimentón
1/2 teaspoon fish stock powder or cube
1 teaspoon salt
Heat about one-third of the olive oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat. Add the dried pasta and fry for about 5 minutes, or until it turns golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan, increase the heat and add the chopped squid and salt. Squid can be very temperamental as it releases a lot of water when you start cooking it so it tends to explode in the pan. It’s fair to say this bit is a tiny bit dangerous. I recommend you hold a pan lid over the pan, so that the steam can still escape, and stand back. Give it a quick stir, half cover with the lid and leave to cook for a couple more minutes. Don’t scrape the bottom of the pan, as that sticky layer on the bottom is essential for making a rich stock.
When the squid has browned, add the peeled prawns, garlic and onion and cook for another 5 minutes until everything is dark golden (this will happen fairly quickly because of the high heat). Add the chopped tomato, saffron and pimentón and stir constantly to dissolve the sticky bits on the bottom. This should take no longer than 2 minutes.
Add the fish stock powder or cube and 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for about 10 minutes before adding the fried pasta. You need to use your judgement here – you need just enough water left in the pan for the pasta to cook and absorb all the remaining liquid. A good thin fideo pasta should cook in about 3 minutes. Stir in the pasta, cover the pan and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove from the heat and leave for 1 more minute, uncovered, to create a toasted layer of pasta on the bottom of the pan – it will taste like heaven. Enjoy with a good dollop of alioli.