VIDEO: Recreate Botica’s paella at home

Caption
Chef Mimmo Alboumeh goes through the rich process of making a beautiful order of paella outside of his restaurant Botica on Peachtree Road. Video by Ryon Horne

Botica chef-owner Mimmo Alboumeh makes a bountiful meat and seafood paella whose flavors are built from numerous aromatics and seasonings. The unorthodox technique of parboiling the rice won’t result in a paella with a socarrat, the crusty, crispy bottom, but it will cut down on cooking time. The dish is featured in the AJC Fall Dining Guide 2021 as one of our favorites dishes right now.

Chef Mimmo of Botica prepares paella on the restaurant's patio each Wednesday and serves it from 3-6 p.m.  He also makes it on the occasional Sunday and upon request. 
Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
Caption
Chef Mimmo of Botica prepares paella on the restaurant's patio each Wednesday and serves it from 3-6 p.m. He also makes it on the occasional Sunday and upon request. Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Botica's Paella
  • 4 cups calasparra rice, or other short-grain rice, such as Bomba
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) sliced Spanish cured chorizo
  • 2 cups fish or chicken stock
  • 1 cup fino sherry, divided
  • ½ cup tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons saffron
  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs, sliced
  • 1 pound cobia or other mild white fish, chopped
  • 1 pound shrimp, head on
  • ½ pound octopus, thinly sliced
  • ½ pound calamari rings
  • 6 lobster tails
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 pound mussels, washed, beards trimmed
  • 1 pound manila clams, washed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped parsley AND 5-6 lemons, cut in half
  • Parboil the rice: Bring 4 liters of water to a boil in a large pot. Add rice, 2 tablespoons salt and bay leaves, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove, strain and set the rice aside.
  • Bring ½ cup water to a boil in a small pot. Remove from heat. Add the saffron and let soak for 30 minutes. Do not discard the soaking water.
  • To an 18-inch paella pan or other large shallow frying pan, add ½ cup olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and sweat for 5 minutes. Add the chorizo, stock, ½ cup sherry, tomato puree, 4 tablespoons salt, paprika, and the saffron with the soaking water. Let simmer 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oven to 500 degrees.
  • Add the chicken, fish, shrimp, octopus, calamari, lobster tails and green peas to the paella pan. Bake 10 minutes, uncovered, then carefully transfer to the stovetop.
  • In a separate large pan, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the mussels and clams and cook 8 minutes, until the shells open. Add the remaining ½ cup sherry and simmer 5 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, strain the steamed seafood and add it to the paella. Garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve each portion with a lemon wedge. Serves 8-12.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, based on 8: 1,274 calories (percent of calories from fat, 48), 67 grams protein, 97 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 66 grams total fat (10 grams saturated), 296 milligrams cholesterol, 2,849 milligrams sodium.

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