Let’s face it. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce is probably one of the most popular types of Spaghetti ‘brand’ around. It’s almost always in kids and adults’ birthday parties. Ask yourselves if it weren’t true. It has become a tradition as eating Pancit or Lechon. Furthermore, it’s in the menus of many if not all fastfood chains in Asia; but I strongly think it’s only in Asia. I don’t understand the idea of mixing ham and hotdog though with the ground beef and sweetening it up for the Filipino Palate. Anyway, if I had remembered correctly, when I opened a container of Spaghetti in one of these fastfood chains, I saw and tasted a sweet and diluted tomato ‘sauce’ and probably a teaspoon of very fine to mashed ‘ground meat’ somewhere. However, that was more than a decade or so ago and recipe changes could have been made for that long a time. I haven’t really eaten in any of those chains in a very, very long period of time. If I had, I would have just eaten the Fried Chicken and Gravy combo.
Call me a purist, but as a result of this major recipe adjustment in the Philippines, many ‘Spaghetti’ has been measured to this standard when it shouldn’t have been.When I had my mom tasted my tomato sauce, she wondered why it was not sweet. But honestly though, I had no idea how it was prepared until I saw and tasted an authentic Spaghetti and Meat Sauce dish abroad, and when many other Italian-American inspired restaurants had begun popping out one after another in Manila. When Food Channels exploded, I assumed everybody was awakened to the reality of many cooking and cooking techniques; Spaghetti or Pasta included. That was a good sign of progress.
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce is one of the classical dish I’d really love to make for friends alongside Spaghetti & Meatballs. And, I want to eat, taste and see MEAT as it should always have been. However, I just don’t want to use Spaghetti as my noodles and as commonly practiced, but would also want to at least venture out with other kinds of pasta available in the market. This brought me to make this classical masterpiece. Before approaching this dish, I had to make some on-line research just to see if what I had in mind was actually was really served out there. After much thought, I proceeded with preparing and making the recipe. For health reasons though, I replaced the ground beef with ground chicken. The price on the package was too irresistible to let go, and I somewhat sidelined beef until after the holidays arrive, and honestly, I can’t wait for that. Summer is just not my season.
- 1/3 of a box of Tagliatelle Pasta
- Olive Oil
- ½ lb of Ground Chicken
- 1 Italian Mild Sausage
- 2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- ½ White Onion, Diced
- Fresh Oregano, roughly chopped
- Dried Oregano
- Peperoncino (Crushed Chili Flakes)
- ½ can of San Marzano Italian Type Tomatoes
- Red wine
- Cheese: Parmesan/Mozza/Cheddar
- Salt & Crushed Ground Black Peppercorns
- Squeeze of Lemon
Blend the can of San Marzano Tomatoes (using a blender) and reduce it by a 1/3 in a sauce pan.
On the same pan, add some Olive Oil and brown the grounded chicken. Do this step in batches if the pan is not big enough. Make sure to brown the ground meat properly (important). Once done, remove from the pan and set it aside together with the grounded Italian Sausage.
Return the cooked ground chicken and Italian sausage back in the pan, stir several times and slowly add some tomato sauce to arrive to the desired consistency. Season the pot with salt & pepper and with the fresh and dried herbs. Let it simmer for a good 20-30 minutes, depending on how much meat is in the pan. Add some pasta water along the way if the meat sauce becomes too dry. Squeeze some lemon when it’s about to be done.
Start a pot of heavily salted water and cook the Tagliatelle pasta based on the instructions in the package.
Set the noodles on a plate, top with the meat sauce, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh oregano.
*I omitted Celery & Carrots from the aromatics. Originally, these can be sauted with the onion & garlic.