Filipinos are the most ingenious when it comes to adopting a foreign dish to suit the local palate. Take the case of spaghetti for example. Though it has some serious Italian influences, you’d be hard-pressed to find spaghetti on the menu in restaurants in Italy. Just as the Americans have added meatballs to come up with ‘spaghetti and meatballs,’ we, too, have given spaghetti our own spin. We called it our very own Filipino-Style or Pinoy-Style Spaghetti!
So what exactly is Filipino-Style Spaghetti? Unlike its American (and Italian?) counterpart, Filipino-Style spaghetti is distinctively sweet. And our answer to meatballs? Tender, juicy hotdogs, the red ones in particular. Sweet, cheesy, and meaty – that’s how we like it in the Philippines.
99% of birthday parties in the Philippines will probably have spaghetti on the menu so you can bet your bottom dollar that it will show up on the dinner table for Noche Buena as well.
All the major fast food restaurants and the carinderias serve spaghetti to their customers and every Filipino household has their own recipe for spaghetti. If the dizzying array of Pinoy spaghetti recipes does not discombobulate you, I don’t know what else will. However, it gets especially more popular during Christmas that even the government has to monitor the prices of spaghetti ingredients every year. Crazy, huh?
When I was a kid, I was given the all important task of prepping the ingredients. From cutting the onions to grating the cheese, I graduated to actually sautéing the meat and making the sauce. I still have great memories of those times. Looking back, I think it’s those memories that made me love cooking.
I can’t remember the exact recipe that we used back then but we settled on this version (with slight modifications) a few years back. This version is definitely my favorite. There’s plenty of sauce (more than double the weight of the pasta) and it’s very cheesy (half a block of cheese was mixed into the sauce).
Some people use banana ketchup for the sauce. I haven’t tried using banana ketchup yet since we always made ours with spaghetti and tomato sauces. Filipino Style spaghetti sauce can be readily bought from the supermarkets but if you can’t find one, just adjust the amount of sugar accordingly.
You can save some of the hotdog slices and the grated cheese to put as toppings for the spaghetti later. They make for a killer (and delicious) presentation in any party.
I can’t wait to make this for Christmas!
Unlike its Italian counterpart, Filipino-Style spaghetti is distinctively sweet. Sweet, cheesy, and meaty – that’s what we like in the Philippines.
2 tbsps oil
1 large onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 hotdogs, sliced thinly
500 grams minced beef
400 grams spaghetti, boiled as per package instruction and drained
3 250 gram packs Sweet or Filipino style spaghetti sauce
3 250 gram packs tomato sauce
1 150 gram pack tomato paste
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
sugar, to taste
180 grams cheddar cheese, grated
In a large casserole, heat the oil over medium heat.
Once the oil is hot enough, sauté the onion and the garlic until the onion is translucent.
Add the hotdogs and sauté for a few minutes, until the hotdogs are lightly browned.
Add the minced beef and cook until the beef loses its pink color.
Add the spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Mix well until combined.
Season with salt and pepper. Add sugar by the tablespoonful, adjusting the sweetness to your taste.
Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add half of the cheese to the sauce and simmer for a few minutes or until the cheese melts.
Turn off the heat. Add the spaghetti and mix until the strands are covered with the sauce.
Transfer to a large plate. Top with cheese and hotdog slices before serving.
I used about 3 tsps of salt and 6 tbsps of sugar. Sweet or Filipino style spaghetti sauce is already sweetened, but I felt that the sauce wasn’t sweet enough for the Filipino style spaghetti. If you aren’t using Sweet or Filipino style spaghetti, you may have to add more sugar.
If you are adding the cheese to the sauce, you may want to hold off adding the salt until after the cheese is mixed in. Cheddar can be salty, and you don’t want to add to much salt to the sauce.
You can also add some diced bell peppers to add a bit of spice.
Hi! I’m Paula. I'm a software engineer by profession and a home cook/baker in my downtime. As a self taught cook and baker, I believe that anyone is capable of creating mouthwatering, home-cooked food.