Creamy rice with prawns and artichokes

Creamy rice with prawns and artichokes

Arroz meloso de gambas y alcachofas

Spanish Made Simple

This rice dish is a megahit in my restaurants. The artichokes give a beautiful liquorice flavour, which I love. People don’t cook much with artichokes but I grew up with them. My mum used to just boil them whole and serve them with olive oil to dip in; it felt like a treat back then so I am a big fan.


Quantity Ingredient
500g fresh squid, cleaned, (you can ask your fishmonger to do this for you)
10 baby artichokes, Stalks trimmed and outer leaves removed
50ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons rock or sea salt
1 onion, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet pimenton
2 tomatoes, grated, (weighing about 300g in total)
1g saffron threads
2 litres shellfish stock
400g spanish paella rice, Such as bomba, bahia or senia
500g fresh prawns, Heads and shells removed


  1. Roughly chop the squid tube, wings and tentacles.
  2. Cut the artichoke hearts into quarters and scrape away any of the furry choke with a teaspoon. (If you do this step in advance, squeeze over some lemon juice and keep them in cold water to stop them going dark and oxidizing.)
  3. Place a large wide pan (or a big terracotta one if you have one) over a high heat and add the olive oil, squid and salt. Allow the squid to release its liquid and let it evaporate before adding the onion and artichoke, stirring constantly so that everything browns nicely.
  4. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute before adding the sweet pimentón. Stir again and cook for 30 seconds, then add the grated tomatoes. If the garlic or pimentón start to burn, add the tomatoes a little earlier. Add the saffron and stock and bring to the boil. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary; it should taste too salty at this stage as it will balance out once the rice is cooked.
  5. Add the rice and cook for 5 minutes over the high heat, then reduce to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every now and then. Add the prawn tails just 5 minutes before the rice is ready. The rice should have released a lot of starch with the stirring, making the texture thick and dense, like a risotto.
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