As Penelope Casas says in her popular cookbook, Paella!, this popular Spanish cuisine is not simply one dish, although it is made in one pan. Paella is an endless possibility of dishes made with almost any combination of ingredients.

Paella is a rice dish at its base, but can be made with anything and everything you love, or just whatever you have in the kitchen. I love shellfish, sausage and chicken in my Paella. There are so many ways to create the perfect Paella, and despite the beauty and drama of the dish, it’s quite easy to prepare.

Valencia, Spain is the home of Paella. During the centuries following the establishment of rice in Spain, the peasants of Valencia would use the paella pan to cook rice with easily available ingredients from the countryside. Traditional Paella is made with short grain rice, like Bomba or Arborio. Saffron distinguishes Paella from other rice dishes. It adds fragance, taste and color to the dish, but it’s potent and only a pinch is needed. The shallow Paella pan is a versative cooking vessel and can be used for many other Spanish dishes, including some that we feature on TheBrownLounge.com. Check out our section on Spanish Cuisine for other favorite dishes and recipes.

This versatile cuisine is a favorite in our home and a signature dish at our dinner parties. At The Brown Lounge, my husband is the Paella cook. He spent several years as a student at Salamanca University in Spain and honed his culinary passion and cooking skills there. This week Kevin prepares a fabulous Paella for our friends. You can see how he did it and get his Paella recipe for your next Paella adventure.

Later this month we’ll celebrate our love of Spain with our annual Paella Party, which we host at our home for about 100 people. We invite guests to bring their favorite tapas dish and make the Paella outside on our deck in a huge Paella Pan over a propane burner. To take the party just over the top, we have a Spanish guitarist play and a Flamenco performance. It’s a deliciously romantic evening for all and brings me back to the fabulous tastes, sights and romance of Spain.

TheBrownLounge.com celebrates Spanish Cuisine with our friends and fans throughout the month of August to appreciate the beauty, romance, and simply prepared food that makes Spain one of our favorite places on earth! In that spirit, we’ve made it easy for you to get your Paella Party started!