Kalderetais a stew made with finely chopped garlic, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, pimientoes, chili peppers, and chopped liver. I made the stew, added cooked pasta, and tossed them all together. It was delicious. This is a fairly simple dish to cook. While kaldereta is traditionally served on the Filipino dinner table with steamed rice, I was thinking of making the usual tomato-based pasta sauce a little different.
While kaldereta is normally cooked with beef cubes, big chunks of meat do not go well with pasta. I cut the beef as though I was going to use it for stroganoff. It cut the cooking time by half and the size was just right for a pasta dish. This dish can also be prepared using leftover kaldereta. However, the meat will have to be sliced before tossing the pasta in. Pureed cooked liver or liver pate can be used instead of canned liver spread. If using cooked liver, I suggest processing it in a blender or food processor.
Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain well and keep warm. Cut the beef slices into 1″ x 2″ strips. Season with salt and pepper. Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and pimiento. Heat the olive oil and butter or margarine in a heavy skillet. Pan-fry the beef strips until the edges start to brown. Add the garlic, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, chili pepper, pimiento, bay leaf, tomato paste, and 1 cup of water. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat, and simmer until beef is very tender (about 1 hour). Liquid should be reduced by half and sauce should be a little thick. Add the liver spread and adjust seasonings.
The truth is, because of how expensive imported cheeses are, Filipinos use cheddar most of the time. But at home, my kids find cheddar cheese too salty. They prefer soft cheeses like quick melt. We even use Cheez-Iez to top pasta dishes. That’s why I don’t specify the kind of cheese. It’s more of a personal preference and I think people really ought to experiment with which kind of cheese goes best with each dish.
My preference is soft cheeses for cream-based pasta dishes and cheddar for tomato-based pasta dishes. Here is a pasta dish that kids won’t be able to resist. Loads of sliced hotdogs and diced salami are the main ingredients for the sweetened tomato-based sauce. Cook the spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguini according to package directions. Drain well. Transfer to a glass bowl and toss with 2 tbsp. of butter. Keep warm.
Dice the salami. Cut the hotdogs into 1/4″ thick slices.
Heat the olive oil and remaining butter in a skillet. Add the salami and fry lightly for about 2 minutes. Add the sliced hotdogs and fry for another minute. Add the diced onion and pimientoes. Cook until the onion is soft. Add the tomato paste, sugar, and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Uncover and add the cooked noodles to the sauce. Toss well. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with grated cheese.