Perfect for parties and special meals, this twist on Spanish paella is sure to be a hit at your next gathering!
Here’s a photo of the Mac and Cheese Paella With Shrimp and Scallops below.
1 lb - orzo pasta
3 Tbsp - olive oil
2 - large bay leaves
2 Tbsp - minced garlic, divided
1 lb - uncooked small or medium shrimp (51-60 or 41-50 count), shelled & deveined (watch our video which shows how to easily peel, process, and devein shrimp)
1 lb - bay scallops
1/2 tsp - salt
1 tsp - small capers (optional)
2 Tbsp - Spanish smoked sweet paprika, or equivalent (see Cook’s Note)
1/4 cup - white wine
1 - large sweet onion, chopped
3 Tbsp - chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3 Tbsp - butter
2 Tbsp - all-purpose flour
1 cup - half & half (or milk)
1 cup - chicken broth
1 cup - frozen peas, thawed (about 4 oz)
8 oz - sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
Additional salt, if needed
8 oz - pepper jack cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 Tbsp - minced fresh parsley, divided
2 Tbsp - sliced green olives with pimento (optional)
1/4 cup - roasted red pepper strips
Lemon for garnish (optional)
Cook orzo according to package directions to the ‘al dente’ stage. When done, drain, rinse (to stop the cooking process) and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, bring 3 tbsp olive oil & the bay leaves to medium heat in a large heavy skillet. Add half the garlic and saute until just beginning to color (do not let garlic brown). Add the shrimp, scallops, and 1/2 tsp salt; toss to coat. Add the capers (if desired) and the smoked paprika and stir until shrimp & scallops are well coated. When just cooked through, remove shrimp & scallops from pan, leaving the bay leaves and as much sauce behind as possible. Set shrimp & scallops aside and keep warm.
Add the wine to the pan and stir, letting the alcohol cook off for a minute or two. Add the remaining garlic, the onions, and the sun-dried tomatoes and cook until the onions have softened (about 5-7 minutes). Discard bay leaves.
Melt the butter in the pan with the onions. Add the flour, stirring for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour, then add the half & half and chicken broth gradually, continuing to stir as the mixture thickens.
When all the milk has been incorporated, add the peas and bring sauce to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and gradually add the shredded sharp cheddar cheese, stirring until melted. Adjust salt.
In a large non-stick paella pan or baking dish, combine the cheese sauce with the orzo and stir thoroughly to coat. Gently fold in half of the shrimp/scallop mix, the pepper jack cubes, and half of the parsley. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Top with remaining shrimp/scallop mixture, olives (if desired), and red pepper strips and return to oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
Garnish with thinly sliced lemons or lemon wedges, and serve with a lightly-dressed green salad.
Cook’s Note: Smoked paprika, with its unique and delightful flavor, is the secret ingredient of classic Spanish cuisine and is well worth seeking out. It can be found at many gourmet shops, specialty food stores, or online. Though there is no direct substitute, an equivalent amount of good quality regular paprika with 2-3 drops of mesquite smoke flavoring added can be used with good results.
You can also see our list of delicious seafood recipes, organized by type of fish to make it easier for you to find culinary inspiration and ideas.
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