Deconstructing The Filipino Spaghetti or the Jollibee Spaghetti Recipe

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Let’s admit it. We have a passion for spaghetti. And let’s just forget for a moment, the Western spaghetti or the hundred reasons why our Jollibee Spaghetti recipe cannot be called spaghetti. It is, and the Italians can’t say anything about it!

Growing up, I used to think that spaghetti was just spaghetti. I studied in a public elementary school and we used to buy this 5 pesos per plastic spaghetti which I imagine now is filled with banana ketchup, sugar, and Ajinomoto. If there’s a birthday party, we’d be treated to a richer spaghetti with ground beef, tomato sauce, and laced with condensed milk. I have had no exposure to other kinds of spaghetti apart from this. When I was in college, I discovered Carbonara. I considered that the “sosyal” spaghetti. And truth to tell, something that I could not really develop a taste for then. In a sense, I think this was because of my Spanish heritage winning over my American heritage, tomatoes winning over cream.

But college is where you learn to improvise and extend your budget and spaghetti is one of the cheapest things to cook. It’s carbs, it’s filling, and can be very tasty. I had this housemate named King who introduced me to oil-based spaghetti, no tomato sauce, just garlic and any kind of protein. So we had Longanisa Spaghetti, Dried Pusit Spaghetti, Tuna Spaghetti, Tinapa Spaghetti, Itlog na Maalat Spaghetti, sometimes all together or a combination. Depending on if we just got our allowance, we’d be using Olive oil or just regular cooking oil. Sometimes we’d have capers, or mushroom, or olives, even fresh tomatoes. Understand were just college kids trying to get by. We’re not cooks or foodies (no such thing yet at that time?). Years later, you’d find specialty spaghetti houses offering these at outrageous prices and I’d wonder how something we used to eat in “petsa de peligro” days could come to cost this much. There’s nothing special in it and in fact, we’d just throw them together. But just because they’re easy doesn’t mean that they weren’t awesome. They were. They were epic.

But enough with the nostalgia, haha! let’s go back to the Jolibee Spaghetti Recipe vis a vis Pinoy Spaghetti.

So what exactly is a Pinoy Spaghetti? Is it almost synonymous to the Jollibee Spaghetti recipe? Here are the basic ingredients for a general Pinoy Spaghetti recipe. Since this is a deconstruction, you can go ahead and do it by ouido so you can make your own recipe according to your taste.

Pasta

I used to buy Del Monte all the time, but lately I buy Fiesta. It’s cheaper! Cook it according to instruction. Most of them, they say to add oil, but experts say to never add oil when boiling. So sometime I do, sometimes I don’t. I try to be a connoisseur and find the difference but sorry. Im not into that level yet. 😛 Update: I read somewhere that oil prevents the pasta from getting coated with the sauce properly, so yeah, I don’t put in oil anymore.

Sauce

The Filipino Style spaghetti of course, uses Sweet Style. No fail. You can use Del Monte, or UFC -yes dear, UFC. Mix it with a small sachet of either cheese flavored spaghetti or garlic and onion, etc. The important thing is to mix it with something that will (more or less) make the spaghetti like Jolibee’s version. There’s rows and rows of new spaghetti sauce flavor today. Try everything. Adventure makes life sweeter! I like to mix and match different brands. Lately, Clara Ole is turning into a favorite. But don’t stop there. I like to add something sour -tomato paste for example.

Reno Liver Spread?

My mother, she likes adding Reno Liver Spread. I don’t because of the added cost, but sometimes I do because the liver spread adds another layer of flavor that is intensely Pinoy and can I say celebratory? Lol. I can almost say provincial because I only see this in the province and not in Manila spaghetti. With the recent brouhaha over Reno, I’m not sure about other labels since we honestly just used Reno Liver Spread all the time -for Pandesal, karekare, and kaldereta, or even Adobo. UPDATE: Reno is back on the shelves, hurrah!

Meat

I believe in this. The best tasting spaghetti is the one that uses the freshest ground beef that you bought from the market at 6 in the morning. Like really! If it’s for the kids, (and kids at heart) you can go ahead and add hotdogs too. Purefoods only. No substitute. Okay, kidding, haha use Vida if you want! One of the readers commented about using corned beef. If it’s 12 in the morning and you got cravings, I don’t see why not. Use Purefoods instead of Argentina because the strands are thicker and you still get to see it on your spaghetti when you eat it. If you have Delimondo on your pantry, so much better, (except, did you know that it’s owned by Juan Ponce Enrile’s family? I don’t like the guy so I’m not buying that again.)

Saute

Ok, this is not an ingredient but an important step in the Spaghetti making process. Brown the beef first then throw the oil. Yes, as in throw out. You dont need the extra calories, and I find that it removes the beefy odor which I hate. Then saute as usual, with garlic and onion. I like using white onion because it’s not as strong as the red onion. Sometimes I skip it all together because for some reason, I don’t like onion on pasta. But I know some people who do so, do as you wish. You can add a cube of Knorr beef. I wont judge. Add all the other ingredients, and a cup or 2 of water. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Simmer, not boil, please. The longer it simmers the better tasting it becomes, and it’s not as sweet nor tart.

Other controversial notes: 

Adding Condensada Milk is also a common practice. I’m not as adventurous with this because I had a really bad experience when I was young. A neighbor gave us a platter and it was sickeningly sweet. If you’re willing to try, maybe add by tablespoon. I have tasted some spaghetti with condensed milk and it’s not so bad. Some even creamy. So it’s your call.

More sugar? Oh, you. Fine, maybe add by tablespoon until you get the sweetness you want.

This is the general measurements that you can tweak for a 1 kilo pasta noodles. Perfect for a small kiddie birthday at home! You can double if you want.

Check out my other spaghetti recipe:

Update October 2020

Condensed vs Condensada

So apparently, this line that says -condensed milk (not condensada) confused a lot of people. Condensed vs, Condensada, what’s really the difference? When I say condensed milk, it means the real milk. an example is the Yellow Classic Alaska Condensed Milk which you can make into Dulce de Leche or used for baking. In this recipes case, we want to use it for the sweetness and its thickening capability. Condensada is different as it’s mostly just cream. For the Blue Alaska Milk – it says Sweetened Condensed Creamer which is best for leche flan, ube halaya, and halo-halo but no Dulce de Leche -😩.

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