I have a friend who’s a pretty good cook and makes paella every summer. Every time he makes it, I complain that it’s nothing like real Spanish Paella—I should know as I lived in Andalucia for almost seven years. I just haven’t made paella since I left Spain, decades ago.

As I expected, a few weekends ago he said “I feel like eating paella. Since you know so much, you make it!”

So I rolled up my sleeves and prepped my paella.

Paella is actually quite simple, but takes a lot of work. Each ingredient is cooked separately before it is all combined with the rice and broth: red peppers, tomatoes, chicken, squid, diced pork, chorizo, jumbo shrimp, mussels, clams, green peas, garlic, and saffron. As I started cooking, it all came back with a rush…and the result was amazing!

Wine could be all over the place, a light to medium red, white, or rosé. I cooked for six people, and we tried all three: 2012 Chateau D’Esclans Côtes de Provence Rosé, crisp and delicious; 2012 Invictus Napa Chardonnay, big and bold; and, 2012 Au Bon Climat Merrywood Cuveé Santa Barbara Pinot Noir, soft and fragrant. ($32, $30, $35, respectively, at Morrellwine.com)

-Roberta Morrell

Roberta's authentic Spanish paella