When my plan to make paella was foiled by a lack of paella rice on my local supermarket shelves, I switched from trying to recreate a Spanish favorite to a dish from another mediterranean country.
On the surface risotto seems relatively similar to paella. Both are one pan dishes where the grains of rice soak up liquid in the pan and meat, fish or vegetables offer additional flavour and texture. However, the way the rice is treated in each dish is significantly different. Paella rice (which include arroz bomba, arroz redondo, and arroz sènia amongst other types) is not stirred in the wide, shallow paella pan. The rice is close to the pan's surface and develops a crispy top and bottom. Risotto on the other hand relies on regular stirring to release the starch from the rice (arborio, carnaroli, baldo etc) and create its characteristically creamy texture.
I could have made paella with my arborio rice, but in pursuit of 292 different meals across 365 days, I'm looking to get as close to authenticity as I can. Deciding to leave paella for another day, chicken thighs and chorizo loaded my risotto with flavour making this a delicious Sunday evening supper.