This summer squash paella makes a great vegan/vegetarian one-pot meal. We often serve it with a bean salad, or with vegetarian or vegan "chorizos." It can also be served as a side dish with seafood or game.
As with any Spanish rice dish, it's extremely important to start with the right rice. Use Calasparra or Bomba, or a paella rice such as La Marjal. Italian arborio rice makes a pretty good substitute. Whatever you do, don't try this with the regular short- or long-grain rices usually found in grocery stores. The results will be disappointing. I cannot emphasize this point enough: the rice really does matter.
1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil
2 to 2 1/2 cups hot water
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch wedges.
1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 medium tomato, chopped (or a few cherry type tomatoes)
a small pinch of saffron, ground with a little salt in a mortar
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
Heat a heavy skillet or a paella pan. Add the olive oil and the chopped onion. When the onion is soft, add the squash, the tomatoes, the garlic, and all but one tablespoon of the parsley. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, for five minutes or so.
Add the rice. Stir until it is well blended with the oil and vegetables. Let the rice "fry" for 3 minutes or so. (This helps the grains to stay separate). Add the pimentón. Stir.
Add two cups of hot water, the salt, and the saffron.
Stir. Let the rice come to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium. Let the rice simmer for twenty minutes. During the last 5-7 minutes, you may want to insert a wooden spoon into the rice to see how it's cooking on the bottom of the pan. Ideally, a paella develops a crust on the bottom, but you don't want it to burn, so add a little more water if necessary.
Remove the rice from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. (This rest is important to the texture of the rice, so don't skip it). Garnish the paella with the remaining chopped parsley and strips of roasted red peppers or piquillos.