Spaghetti, though an everyday food, brings fond memories of special occasions. Every birthday party probably has spaghetti as one of the dishes served. For me, spaghetti brings to mind Christmas. We always serve spaghetti for Christmas brunch. All the children (as well as the adults) look forward to spaghetti. If we are lucky enough to have leftovers, we look forward to eating pan fried spaghetti for breakfast the next day. The pasta with sauce is heated in a pan with a touch of oil. The spaghetti becomes dry and caramelized with toasty bits of meat and cheese. Super delicious!
The Kulinarya Cooking Club's theme for this month is Filipino style spaghetti. This may seem uncharacteristically Filipino as we all know that pasta is not our native ingredient. Pasta, however, is as much loved as rice and noodles. It is popular at parties and for everyday meals. It is served at both restaurants and roadside stalls. It is a must have on the menu. Philippine McDonald's serves spaghetti and rice dishes to cater to our palates (and also to rival the more popular Filipino fastfood chain Jollibee).
There is nothing special about Filipino spaghetti yet it is nothing like the Italian spaghetti. It is a recipe created with the Filipino palate in mind so it is perfect for our liking. It is not unlike the other tomato based Filipino dishes. All the ingredients that Filipinos love are thrown in: hot dogs, sweet pickles, banana catsup, fish sauce and cheese. The key is to saute the ingredients well to create caramelization before adding in the wet ingredients. A long simmer boils away the acidity of the tomato sauce and produces a rich sweet sauce. We prefer pasta a little bit past al dente. The sauce is usually mixed in before serving. I like mixing the pasta with a small amount of sauce then topping with more sauce. Sprinkled freely with cheese, a dash of Tabasco and eaten with bread makes it a meal to die for.
This recipe will make 12-20 servings.
Ingredients for the spaghetti sauce:
2 tbsps. olive oil plus 1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. crushed garlic
2 c. chopped onions
500 gms. minced beef
500 gms. minced pork
1/2 tsp. dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 c. tomato puree (tomato paste)
2 1/2 c. passata (pureed tomatoes) or tomato sauce
1/4 c. tomato or banana catsup
1 tsp. (or more) hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
6 frankfurters (or regular hot dogs), quartered lengthwise then diced
3 c. beef stock
3 tbsps. fish sauce
3 tbsps. sweet pickle relish
2 tbsps. brown sugar
1/2 c. grated processed cheese
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
Heat up a big casserole or pot. Add the olive oil and butter. Add in the garlic when the butter has melted. Sauté until the garlic starts to colour. Add in the chopped onions and salt. Stir, then cover and lower the heat. Leave this to soften for about 10 minutes.
Add in the minced beef, minced pork, herbs, ground black pepper and tomato puree (tomato paste). Sauté this until the mixture is dry and exudes oil. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the mixture starts to brown.
Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the cheese. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for half an hour. Add in the cheese and simmer again for another half an hour. By this time the sauce will be thick and rich with a film of oil on top. Skim this off if there is too much. I used lean meat so there is less fat. Add the salt. Do not put too much salt as the cheese topping will still add to its saltiness.
spaghetti (100 gms. dry pasta per person)
grated cheddar, parmesan or queso de bola
bread (garlic bread, garlic dough balls or buttered bread slices)
Cook the spaghetti to your preference. The pasta for Filipino spaghetti is cooked well, more tender than Italian pasta.
Stir some sauce into the freshly cooked pasta. Transfer to a serving dish and top with more sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and serve with bread on the side.
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Thank you to this month's gracious hosts:
Gio of The Hungry Giant and Kyle and Bea of Rated K&B. Visit the other member's blogs to see more posts on this theme.
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