It don't come easy.
I was discussing with a friend the other day just how complicated Cuban cooking is. I don't mean to scare anyone away, but the fact is that Cubans take simple ingredients and complicate them. We can't just grill a steak. No... we have to marinate it first, and chop onions and parsley to sprinkle on top. We look at an ear of corn, and we can't just steam it or boil it; no, we have to slice off the kernels and grind the kernels and transform it into tamales. Can we just roast a chicken in the oven? No, we need to prepare a mojo and let it marinade for 24 hours. The list goes on and on. I personally need to simplify my life.
Take something relatively simple to make such as spaghetti with meatballs. This is a typical recipe for Cuban Albondigas (Cuban Meatballs) that I copied/translated from La Cocina Cubana.
1 lb ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp ground onion
2 tbsp ground pepper
½ cup milk
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp salt
¼ tbsp black pepper
½ oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients except of the eggs and bread crumbs. Form your meatballs then pass them through the beaten eggs and next the bread crumbs. Heat the oil and fry the meatballs until they are golden. Remove from the oil.
That's just the meatballs, then you still have to make the sauce. My grandmother used to make them this way, and if you want to try them, they are very tasty. As far as I'm concerned it's too much trouble and way too fattening; after all, it's breaded and fried ground beef! Please, my cholesterol is already through the roof.
Here's how I make them for spaghetti
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 egg beaten
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. (Yes, I boil my meatballs to eliminate the fat). Combine above ingredients and form into balls carefully dropping them in the boiling water as you go. Let the meatballs fully cook in the boiling water.
For the sauce.1 can/jar spaghetti sauce, traditional flavor
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup red wine
a dash or oregano
a dash of basil
a dsh of rosemary
salt and pepper
1-2 cups water from the pot with the meatballs
Heat a little olive oil in a pot and drop in your pressed garlic. Cook on medium heat for just a minute or so and pour in your spaghetti sauce, add your herbs and spices. With a slotted spoon remove your meatballs from the water and drop into your sauce. Add one to two cups of the water from the pot of the boiled meatballs. Let simmer while your pasta cooks. You know how to cook pasta.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. P.S. It took me longer to prepare this post than to prepare the dish.