Seafood Paella



It’s the most spectacular of all and always garners applause from the lucky guests when brought to the table... it's the seafood paella, one of the pride of Spanish cuisine! The word "marisco" means shellfish and immediately defines the stars of this delicious dish: mussels, squid, prawns, and langoustines, but also clams, crabs, or fish depending on what the market offers. Just like with the Paella Valenciana, in fact, there is no certified recipe but many variations that change according to the availability of ingredients and the traditions of each family. In this case, the rice is flavored not only with saffron but also with paprika, which adds an extra burst of flavor. But it’s the mussels, with their cooking water, and the shellfish broth in which the rice is cooked by absorption that will make everything incredibly tasty and fragrant. Perfect for a special occasion or simply to share with your friends, after an aperitif based on sangria and tortilla, the seafood paella is a guaranteed success... you'll hear the applause!

Try these other versions of paella, traditional and otherwise:

  • Vegetarian Paella
  • Algherese Paella
  • Fideuà
  • One-pot vegetarian red rice paella
for a paella of about 11-12 inches in diameter
Bomba rice 2.2 lbs (400 g)
Mussels 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
Calamari (squid) 1.1 lbs (500 g) - (to be cleaned)
Scampi 8
Shrimps 8
Onions 2.8 oz (80 g)
Garlic 1 clove
Shrimp bisque (Fumetto di crostacei) 3.2 lbs (750 g)
Tomato puree 3 cups (200 g)
Saffron 0.07 tsp (0.25 g) - (2 packets)
Sweet Paprika 1 tsp (5 g)
Sweet Peperoncino 1
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Fine salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

How to prepare Seafood Paella

To prepare the seafood paella, first prepare the shellfish broth following our recipe, you will need 3 1/3 cups. Then take care of cleaning the mussels: remove the barnacles with a knife, detach the byssus, and scrape the shells with a scouring pad 1, rinsing the shells thoroughly under running water. Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan, then add the mussels 2 and cover with the lid 3.

Cook them for 4-5 minutes over high heat shaking the pan occasionally, so they open 4. Turn off the heat and drain the mussels in a bowl over which you have placed a colander, in order to filter and set aside their cooking liquid which you will need later 5; you will need about 8.8 oz. Shell most of the shellfish and keep some whole for the final decoration 6. Discard the mussels that did not open.

Now proceed to cleaning the squid: remove the quill 7 and the tuft with the innards attached, then also remove the skin 8. Rinse the inside of the squid thoroughly, then cut them into rings of a couple of inches 9.

Also prepare the other ingredients you will need for the preparation: peel and finely chop the onion 10, then remove the seeds from the chili pepper and finely chop it 11. Finally, peel the garlic clove, split it in half and remove the germ 12.

As for the prawns and langoustines, rinse them under running water and make an incision by cutting along the belly with a pair of scissors: this way they will release more flavor during cooking 13. In the specific paella pan, heat a drizzle of oil with the garlic clove, then add the crustaceans 14 and brown them for 1-2 minutes per side over high heat 15.

Once cooked, transfer the prawns and langoustines to a plate and set them aside 16. In the same pan, add the onion 17 and let it soften over low heat for a few minutes, also adding the chili pepper 18.

Now slightly increase the heat and add the squid 19. After a couple of minutes, remove the garlic and pour the tomato puree 20. Also add the hot broth 21

and the mussel liquid you have set aside 22. Season with saffron 23 and paprika 24, mix and bring to a boil.

When the liquid has come to a boil, you can add the rice 25 and the shelled mussels 26, then season with pepper and salt with moderation, considering that the mussel water and the shellfish broth will already be quite savory. Give a final stir 27 and cook over low heat for about 18 minutes, or for the time indicated on the package: the rice must cook by absorption, so it should no longer be stirred but you can gently shake the pan occasionally.

Once the cooking time has elapsed the rice must be dry and partially stuck to the bottom of the pan 28. At this point, turn off the heat and arrange the crustaceans on the surface 29, then also add the mussels with shells that you had set aside 30. Your beautiful seafood paella is ready to be served!

How to store

It is recommended to consume the seafood paella immediately. Alternatively, it can be stored for about 2 days in the refrigerator, but the rice may lose its consistency. Freezing is not recommended.


The shellfish broth gives a more intense flavor to the paella, but if you prefer, you can alternatively use vegetable broth.

If you cannot find Bomba rice, you can substitute it with Arborio or Balilla rice. If you wish to add vegetables, you can opt for bell peppers, which should be added along with the rice, or peas, to be added halfway through cooking.

Serve the seafood paella with lemon wedges to allow your guests to add it as they wish... it will be great!