Monday, September 13, 2010

Meatless Monday: Homemade Rice-A-Roni

Considering Cubans love rice, I don't believe there is a Cuban recipe that calls for a rice/pasta combination. In doing some research I read that the inspiration for the famous San Francisco Treat came from an Armenian recipe. Go figure, and you thought you had never tried Armenian food.
This is a very basic recipe to which you may add parsley, mushrooms, peas, etc.

1/4 cup pasta, cracked into small pieces (I used angel hair)
1 cup long grain rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth (or water plus vegetable bouillon)

Heat your olive oil in a skillet, drop in your garlic, pasta and rice and stir until well coated and the pasta browns slightly. Add your broth and bring to a boil. Stir. Turn heat to low and simmer covered for 15 - 20 minutes. Fluff rice with fork and serve.


  1. Ivonne, as you mention, there is not to my knowledge a "traditional" Cuban recipe in the books for this, however, in the early and mid '70's in Cuba, under a most restrictive rationing system and with chronic shortages of every imaginable product and produce, Cubans, ever resourceful, found a way to "estirar" (literally "to stretch") the ration of rice given by the communist government or bought very expensively in the black market: they would cook half rice and half noodles. What they would do (my mother included, in more than one occasion) is to take a package of noodle "nests" (noodles rolled like nests) and crush it in the package or in a small brown bag with a beer or malta (malt drink) bottle, with a rolling motion back and forth, until it was fragmented in pieces similar to the size of a grain of rice. Then they would make a sofrito and cook the portion of rice in it with water, adding sometimes chicken or pork or even beef, but mostly just giving it some flavor and color. When the rice was almost dry (with some liquid remaining) they would add the crushed noodle "meal" and cover the pot until both ingredients were tender. I must say, that even though most people hated this combination (more than anything because of what it meant, politically and socially), I loved it every time, and when I came to the U.S. and found Riceroni, I couldn't help but to remember the variation my mother and so many other Cuban women cooked so many times during a time period in order to "stretch" their meager rice supplies. Anyway, I love Riceroni and I am going to try to do it the way they did it in Cuba, to see what I come up with. XOXOXOXOX

  2. I did not know about this, but considering the resourcefulness of Cubans, it does not surprise me. In the early 60's in the US we Cuban refugees received government food... powdered eggs, powdered milk, very large blocks of processed cheese, huge cans of peanut butter, spam-like canned meats.... My grandmother invented all kinds of recipes... she even made turron with the peanut butter at Christmas!

  3. Pedro, thanks for sharing this. Like my mom says "la necesidad es la madre de toda invencion"
    I've made this before. Maybe even something extremely close to the exact recipe. It was prettygood! And now you've got me curious about peanut butter tourron! :)

  4. Sharline, I wouldn't begin to imagine what process she used. I remember watching her, but I was a small child, and as an adult I do not eat peanut butter. It would be interesting to research though.

  5. Agreed. I can't even wrap my mind around what might have been the process! But it's still a sweet memory . No pun