Macaroni and Cheese Paella with shrimp and scallops Recipe
I was really excited about making this mac n cheese dish. While browsing Food Buzz and tweeting, I came across huggingthecoast.com. I thought to myself, oh man this is the ultimate seafood site. Being a Philly born now Floridian, you can understand my enthusiasm. Red just loves mac n cheese so, even though the hubby is on a low carb diet, I just couldn't resist. I did make a few changes in the ingredients, used what I had on hand. Our local grocer did not have smoked paprika or liquid smoke so I made an alteration there too. I cut the recipe in half, except for the wine, as it serves 8.
Macaroni and Cheese Paella with shrimp and scallops, my way!
- 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 - three cups small salad size 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) 1/2 Tbsp paprika + 1/2 Tbsp St Louis Mesquite seasoning
- 1/4 cup - white wine
- 1 - large sweet onion, chopped
- 3 Tbsp - chopped sun-dried tomatoes Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies and cilantro, drained well.
- 3 Tbsp - butter
- 2 Tbsp - all-purpose flour
- 1 cup - half and 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 dried parsley, divided
- 2 Tbsp - sliced green olives with pimento (optional)
- 1/4 cup - roasted sweet 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.
Meanwhile bring 3 tbsp olive oil and the bay leaves to medium heat in a large heavy skillet. Add half the garlic and saute a bit, do not let garlic brown. Add the shrimp, scallops, and 1/2 tsp salt; toss to coat. Add the capers, paprika, St Louis mesquite seasoning and stir until shrimp and scallops are well coated. When seafood is just cooked through, remove shrimp and scallops from pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the bay leaves and as much sauce as possible. Set shrimp and scallops aside.
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 cook until the onions are just softened. 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 milk and chicken broth gradually, continuing to stir as the mixture thickens.
When the sauce has fully developed, 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), Rotel and red pepper strips and return to oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
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.
The original post at hugging the coast.
I was right to be excited about this seafood pasta paella, it was really delicious. Red ate at least three servings, and the hubby enjoyed a nice size serving along with his chicken. As you can see there was plenty of seafood on top, allowing him to avoid most of the carbs; he was quite impressed with the flavor. This turned out so well I'm going to make this my first entry to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by the lovely founder, Ruth Daniels, at Once Upon a Feast.
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