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    Recipe for vegetable paella

    Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

    Serves 4 with leftovers

    4to 4½ cups vegetable stock
    ½teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
    Salt, to taste
    4tablespoons olive oil, or more if needed
    1package (10 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
    1each orange and yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
    ½pound green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
    1onion, finely chopped
    3cloves garlic, finely chopped
    3plum tomatoes, finely chopped
    ¼teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
    cups medium-grain white rice
    1can (14 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
    ½pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
    ½cup Kalamata olives
    ¼cup chopped fresh parsley

    1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

    2. In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of stock to a boil. Add the saffron and turn off the heat; steep for 15 minutes. Season well with salt.

    3. In a large skillet with a heatproof handle over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the artichokes, and cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl.


    4. Heat 1 tablespoon more oil in the skillet over medium heat. Cook the bell peppers and green beans, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add to the artichokes.

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    5. Heat 1 tablespoon more oil in the skillet. Cook the onion, garlic, plum tomatoes, and paprika, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the rice, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and saffron stock and bring to a boil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like.

    6. Spread the rice evenly in the pan, and arrange the artichoke mixture on top. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, turning the pan occasionally to distribute the heat. If the rice is dry but not fully cooked, pour in ½ cup more stock without disturbing the mixture.

    7. Distribute the asparagus and olives on top, cover tightly with foil, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the asparagus is tender.

    8. Remove from the oven. Check if the bottom is crusty. If not, set the pan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes to caramelize the bottom. Sprinkle with parsley. Reserve 4 cups for the peppers. Sally Pasley Vargas