Equipment needed for Paella?

I've been researching paella recipes and all that I've encountered so far require either a) cooking the paella in a cast-iron skillet on the stove and then transferring it into the oven or b) cooking it on the stove top in a paella pan. I have neither a cast-ron skillet nor a paella pan. I'm only planning on making enough for two people, so can I use just a regular pan on the stove or is there another alternative? Thanks!



bigpan July 20, 2012
I agree with Perino and use a paella pan - and have done on a burner and in the oven. Best to make on a burner so you can control the liquid and easily add seafood near the end.
Paella is a lovely dish you can put your own touches on/in.
And,as you have read, the dish and cooking device are called the same - like tagine.
Reiney July 20, 2012
Not 2 hours ago I was in a cooking store and wondered aloud to a friend "how much paella would one have to make in order to justify a $170 All-Clad paella pan?"
ChefOno July 20, 2012

Or a $500 Mauviel copper paella pan...
I've had the same thought until someone here pointed out the benefits of presentation in an upscale pan.

pierino July 20, 2012
Paella pans don't need to cost a lot. I picked up two big ones for our community kitchen for under $80 total. Heat source is more important than fancy pants pans. And ChefOno is correct about the soccarat. Crisp, but not burned.
ChefOno July 20, 2012

The traditional pan is steel (not cast iron) and has a large, flat bottom surface in order to expose as much rice as possible to the heat in order to develop the socarrat (crust). Use what you have -- a braising pan, sauté pan, fry pan, heck you could use a roasting pan. Spend your money on rice and saffron, not on a special pan. Stovetop is fine, forget the oven (why an oven???) The *other* trick is getting the heat just right so the crust builds but doesn't burn (definitely err on the side of no crust, burned rice is a very bad thing).

Christine July 22, 2012
Re your "why the oven" statement, I used a really big skillet since I was making paella for 8 people. My gas burners tend to run hot and the skillet was really needing a less specific and intense heat source to finish slowly enough to cook the rice but not burn part of the bottom, so I stuck it in the oven at the end to cook it as evenly as I could. If your stove is configured differently or you are making a smaller paella, the oven is probably superfluous, but it really helped in my situation.
pierino July 20, 2012
Unfortunately, the name "paella" refers specifically to the pan itself (like many traditional recipes). You will need something broad and wide and shallow and metal. Traditionally paella is cooked outside over a wood fire or maybe a gas fire. The trick to it is that you add the simmering stock to the rice and after that you don't stir.
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