I went back to Austin for a few days last week to finalize things with my renters, spend a little time at the office, but mainly see my brother who was visiting from overseas. As different as he and I have always been, we’ve both always enjoyed cooking. As adults, cooking is a creative outlet we still love to talk about. During the week we had a ton of delicious food (he made pizza from scratch, dough in all!), but my favorite was the whole family effort for our Latin dinner. My brother made some of the tastiest sangria, my dad served up margaritas, my mom was the best sous chef for me as I pulled together seafood paella for everyone.
This was the first time I’ve ever made paella, which is strange since I love rice and one-pot wonders. I did a meatless variation of this recipe from Foodnetwork.com and added mussels. It was amazing! The technique was very similar to risotto, but my biggest learning from this cooking adventure was how simple it is to steam seafood. With such a flavorful base, the scallops, shrimp and mussels absorbed all the seasoning and cooked up in just minutes. I always thought that cooking mussels would be more challenging, but you can just steam them in a large pan with your sauce and wait for their shells to pop open.
Here’s a snapshot my mom took of me hard at work…you can’t really see much of the paella, but it’s there.
We over bought on the seafood, so my parents sent me home with enough uncooked seafood to prepare another meal. During my drive from Austin to Houston I decided it was time to pull out the pasta maker and create a light, summer seafood pasta dish.
The sauce: Garlic, olive oil, whole peeled tomatoes, Italian seasoning
The pasta: Fettuccine – much better than the first try at this noodle
Again I steamed the seafood in the sauce, added the pasta and topped with flat leaf parsley and Parmesan. Super delicious!