It sounds so exotic doesn’t it…Cuban Style Rice? Well, sorry to disappoint, but it’s not at all! Arroz a la Cubana is a store cupboard, go-to dish. Often served in restaurants as part of the mid day “menu” and eaten by impoverished students all over Spain. What is it? Simply rice with tomato sauce and a fried egg on top.
As with many simple dishes, they can be comforting and filling. And they can be dressed up too, if this is what takes your fancy.
I almost always have some home made tomato sauce in the fridge. In the summer our little huerto provides me with tomatoes to see me through most of the year, and even though we missed the end of the summer in Spain, I managed to freeze plenty of tomatoes which will keep me going for a month or so until this season’s vegetables are available to me.
There may be a different way of making Arroz a la Cubana, this is my method which gives you a slightly soupy textured rice, almost like a risotto.
Ingredients (for two as a main course)
- 1 cup Spanish paella rice
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 1 cup of tomato sauce (sofrito) Recipe below
- Salt and pepper
Start by bringing the rice and (salted) water to the boil, reduce the heat and continue to cook slowly until most of the water has evaporated. Now add the tomato sauce, check for seasoning and continue to cook for a few minutes more until the rice is almost done. Turn off the heat, cover the rice and leave to stand for 5 minutes, by which time the rice will be done.
Typically served with a fried egg on top, a great veggie meal, I added some cooked green beans and topped the rice with griddled loin of pork. Delicious with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Chica’s Quick Tomato Sauce
- About 5 fat cloves of crushed garlic
- 500g of crushed tomatoes
- A tablespoon of tomato purée
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil or oregano (stalks and leaves, not chopped)
- A glass of red wine
- About half a teaspoon of sugar
Put the garlic into a few tablespoons of olive oil (do not heat the oil first, we don’t want the garlic to brown) and cook slowly for a few minutes until it starts to soften. Now add the tomatoes, the tomato purée, the wine and the herbs. Season lightly and simmer for about 30 minutes until thickened. Check for seasoning and if it is a little sharp, add the sugar (this is not always necessary). Cook for a few minutes more, remove the herbs and you’re done.