Almost no children's birthday party in the Philippines would be complete without the spaghetti, cooked the Filipino way. It is a party staple heavily favored by many Filipino kids. Even served along with Pancit Bihon, another Filipino party favorite, the sweet styled tomato based pasta dish would still win by a landslide among kids. Even many adults love it and have never outgrown its unique blend of tastes - a balance of sweetness, saltiness and spiciness.
Comfort Food is well regarded as one's guilty pleasures. It is often associated with contentment, home and childhood memories. The Filipino style spaghetti remains still as among one of the Filipino comfort foods simply because it reminds them of a happy place called home , of their mothers' cooking lovingly for them on that special occasion. It is no wonder why some many fast food joints here in the Philippines include their own "Filipino versions" of this pasta dish in their menus. Nowadays too, it is offered as a meal snack in Filipino canteens and local eateries.
The Filipino Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti is actually a type of pasta that is Italian in origin. I do not know who coined the dish just plain "spaghetti" but this spaghetti dish must have been inspired from what is popularly known as Spaghetti Bolognese. Spaghetti Bolognese is very popular in countries outside Italy like the United Kingdom and U.S though in U.K., it is called spag bol. The word Bolognese is Italian in origin as Bolognese sauce comes from Bologna,Italy. It is a meat based pasta sauce that is used to dress some different Italian pastas. It is customarily used to dress tagliatelle, a type of pasta of too. However one should not confuse it with the Spaghetti Bolognese sauce because their ingredients bear little resemblance with each other.
1 kg. spaghetti pasta noodles
There are already ready made spaghetti sauces available in the market. You can choose the spaghetti Italian styled sauce or the Filipino sweet styled.
But on this recipe I choose instead, 250 g of tomato sauce and a small can or pouch of tomato paste instead.
500 gms. of ground beef. You could choose either the ground lean beef or the regular ground beef / traditional ground which has a high fat content. I opt though for the traditional.
10 cloves of garlic finely minced
6 medium sized onions finely chopped
1 tsp. of dried whole basil
8 pieces of hotdog sliced thinly
1 small can liver spread
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 bottles banana catsup
grated processed cheese or Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup water
How to Cook the Pasta:
- Fill a large stockpot with water. The more the better - pasta only sticks when cooked in too little water.
- Add salt. Salt makes pasta taste better, and won't appreciably increase the sodium level of your recipes. Use 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. At that level, 2 ounces of uncooked pasta (1 cup cooked), the FDA serving size, absorbs about 20 mg of sodium which is about 1% of the recommended daily sodium intake. That's nothing.
- Bring the water to a rolling boil. This means a boil you can't stop by stirring.
- Slowly add the pasta to the boiling water. Ideally, the water shouldn't stop boiling, but if that happens, it's ok.
- Stir and stir some more! Pasta will stick together if it isn't stirred during the crucial first moments of cooking. Don't add oil, because that will make the pasta slippery and the sauce won't stick to it when it's done.
- Start timing when the water returns to a boil. Most pastas cook in 8-12 minutes. Check the package directions!
- You can regulate the heat so the pasta/water mixture doesn't foam up and over the pot sides. Lower it the tiniest bit, and everything should be under control.
- Really the only way to tell if the pasta is correctly cooked is to taste it. It should be 'al dente' - firm, yet tender, with a tiny core in the middle.
- You can also cut into a piece you've fished out of the pot. There shouldn't be any solid white in the center of the pasta - just a shading to more opaque cream color.
- Now drain the pasta into a colander placed into your kitchen sink. Lift the colander and shake off excess water.
- Don't rinse . That removes the starch that helps hold the sauce.
- By covering the pot when you bring water to a boil, you are lowering the air pressure directly over the water, making it easier to boil.
- Watch the cooking process carefully. Pasta can overcook very quickly.
- How to Cook Pasta - Pasta Cooking Tips - How to Cook Pasta
Searching for how to cook pasta? Learn how to cook pasta with these easy tips. Cooking pasta is an art form that anyone can learn.
How to Make The Spaghetti Sauce:
1 .In a large pan, heat 1/2 cup of oil . Sauté garlic until light brown. Set aside.
2. On the same pan, sauté onions until translucent. Set aside.
3. Sauté hotdogs for 2 minutes. Set aside
4. Still on the same pan,sauté ground beef over medium heat until it turns brown and the oil comes out from the fat of the ground beef. Add one teaspoon of salt.
5. Add now the garlic and onions. Continue sautéing for two minutes over medium heat.
6. Add water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
7.Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste and catsup, and basil leaves and pepper to taste. .Simmer in low heat for 10 minutes with occasional stirring. This would prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan.
8.Add some cheese, liver spread and cream of mushroom soup. Simmer for 5 minutes with occasional stirring.
9. Add sugar and hotdogs. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes with occasional stirring.
10. Pour sauce in the pasta. Top with cheese.
** You could also just serve the sauce separately with the cooked spaghetti noodles and cheese and let your guest be the one to put the sauce together with the pasta and cheese according to their preference of how much sauce, noodles and cheese to put on their plate.