A Maltese take on Spanish paella

The Spanish paella is a dish that celebrates local and seasonal produce. With that in mind Michael Diacono puts a local twist on a Spanish classic using the very best of Maltese spring produce. 

There are pretty strict rules when it comes to making a Spanish paella – what kind of rice you use, what kind of sausage, meat vs fish. These rules also vary depending on the region in Spain that it is cooked. In Valencia, paellas are made only with seafood while in the southern regions of Andalucia it is common to find paellas with both seafood and meat.

In this recipe Michael Diacono takes the Spanish classic and adds a few local twists. Paella is actually named after the pan that it is cooked in – a flat metal pan where the rice is cooked over an open flame. Michael’s first variation comes by using a normal pan found in everyday kitchens and cooked over the hob. This variation makes the dish more accessible as you do not have to have any specialised equipment.

He uses Maltese sausage instead of Spanish chorizo, pork, squid and a variety of seafood as well as local broad beans to create dish that mixes Spanish culture with ours.

Spanish paella with a local twist


  • 200g pork fillet, marinated overnight in garlic, thyme and olive oil
  • 200g calamari, marinated overnight in garlic, parsley, chilli and olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 Maltese sausage
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 250g rice
  • 1 litre chicken, veg or fish stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 300g mussels
  • Handful parsley
  • 200g prawns
  • A few threads saffron
  • 200g broad beans, shelled twice

Aioli sauce

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic


  1. Marinate the pork in garlic, olive oil and thyme in the fridge overnight.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a pan, ideally a paella pan but a deep pan will do.
  3. Fry the onion with the garlic until soft and translucent.
  4. Add the carrot and the celery and fry for approx. 5 mins.
  5. Dice the marinated pork and add to the pan and allow to brown gently.
  6. Add the Maltese sausage and allow to colour.
  7. Add the tomatoes and mix well.
  8. Cut the pepper in half, cut one half into strips reserving one half for the end.
  9. Add the rice and mix well.
  10. Add the stock, two ladles for every ladle of rice, and allow to simmer until the rice cooks, adding more stock if the rice starts to get dry.
  11. Add a little more stock and chop the calamari into rings.
  12. Add the calamari to the pan along with the mussels
  13. Finely chop the parsley and add to the dish.
  14. Add the prawns and a little more stock.
  15. Add the saffron and mix through.
  16. Add the broad beans and the reserved half of the sweet bell pepper.
  17. Allow to simmer for 5 more mins until the mussels open and the prawns are cooked.
  18. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5 mins before serving in the pan.
  19. To make the aioli sauce add the ingredients to a tall glass and use an immersion blender to combine until emulsified.

This recipe first appeared on Gourmet Today TV, on TVM on 6 May, 2017.

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