Junk Food Spaghetti

I call it junk food spaghetti because only processed meat went into the sauce–hotdogs, salami, and belly bacon. It is a combination of two previous kiddie spaghetti recipes (the older recipes are here and here). Perhaps not too friendly for adults who are strictly watching the amount of fat and carbohydrates in their diet… but, hey, the kids’ parents enjoyed them as much as their children did.

I cooked the sauce two days ahead to allow all the flavors to develop. All the wonderful flavors of the salami and the belly bacon have blended wonderfully into the sauce by the time of the dinner party. You can choose other processed meats like smoked ham, bologna, or pepperoni. From experience, these salty and highly spiced ones are best. If you anticipate little guests who inspect everything in the sauce before putting anything in their mouths, chop all the meat into very small pieces to make them unidentifiable. Well, except for the hotdogs. Kids want to see those slices of hotdogs. Funny that most Filipino children don’t find spaghetti appetizing without those little circles of meat.

I suggest that you cook the sauce ahead of time. I did it two days ahead. Cool the cooked sauce, transfer it to a covered container, and keep it in the fridge. Chop the belly bacon and the salami according to your preference. I cut them into very thin strips but chopping or dicing will do the trick as well. Cut the hotdogs into rings.

In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until it renders fat and the edges start to brown. You may pour off the excess fat at this point. Add the olive oil and 1/4 cup of butter. Add the salami and cook over high heat for about 3-4 minutes. Add the hotdogs next. Cook until heated through. Next, add the chopped onions and cook until transparent. Add the bay leaf and the chopped pimientoes. Pour in the tomato paste. Stir well to blend. Pour in the meat stock, stirring as you pour. Bring to a boil. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Use as much, or as little, depending on your preference. Most Filipino kids like sweet spaghetti so I use quite a lot of sugar. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the seasonings and simmer for another 5 minutes.

You may serve the noodles and the sauce separately. That way, everyone can decide how much sauce they want with their noodles. However, if you’re having few guests, this procedure might be too messy. And some inconsiderate mothers will pick all the good stuff from the sauce and place them all on their kids’ plates, leaving the rest with nothing much. So, what I did was toss the noodles with the sauce and serve them that way with the grated cheese on the side.