8 vine-ripened plum tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I omit)
1 teaspoon saffron threads (I omit)
1 large bulb fennel, cut into 8 wedges (I use half)
8 baby artichokes hearts
1 large Japanese eggplant, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
2 cups dry white wine
2 1/2 cups short-grain paella rice
4 ounces haricots verts or string beans, halved if large
1/4 cup capers, drained
1/4 cup piquillo or roasted red peppers, cut into strips
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
Core the tomatoes, cut into wedges and place in a medium bowl; season with salt, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and toss.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet or a paella pan over medium-high heat.
Add the onion, garlic, paprika, cayenne and saffron and season with salt.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
Add the fennel wedges and cook until lightly browned on one side, about 5 minutes.
Flip the fennel and add the baby artichokes and eggplant to the skillet; cook until slightly tender, about 4 more minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour in the wine and simmer until reduced by about one-third.
Stir in the rice and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt; add just enough water to cover the rice completely, 2 1/2 to 3 cups.
Increase the heat to high and boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
Scatter the haricots verts and 2 Tablespoons capers over the rice.
Remove the pan from the heat and arrange the tomatoes on top; drizzle with any tomato juices.
Transfer the paella to the oven and bake, undisturbed, for 20 minutes.
Scatter the remaining 2 Tablespoons capers and the piquillo peppers over the paella.
Turn off the oven but leave the paella inside to continue cooking until the rice is tender, 15 to 20 more minutes.
Garnish with parsley, if desired.