This is what I brought for our usual Saturday get-together with friends. Our girls were not in the mood to go out and preferred to stay at home. I thought against cooking another dish for their dinner since it would mean double work for me and twice the amount of dishwashing for the maid. Besides, the girls would have had a fit if they didn’t have their share of the spaghetti.
I had to recalculate how much I would need for each ingredient. A usual pasta dinner at home for the four of us, plus the maid, is pegged at 250 g. of pasta. That amount would mean some leftovers for brunch, good for 2 people, the following day. I figured that the kids and the maid would need about half of the 250 g. In the end, I decided to cook 750 g. of pasta altogether and enough sauce to go with it. Like I normally do, I overshot some things. Too much hotdogs. But then that pleased the kids.
The amount of ingredients given here is exactly as I cooked the dish, calculated to feed fifteen people. Of course, I already considered the fact that the rest of our friends would be bringing some dinner items too and the spaghetti won’t be the only food there.
To make sure that the spaghetti wouldn’t get soggy between the time we left our house and the time dinner would be served at our friend’s place, which was an hour away, I undercooked the pasta. The heat from the sauce would be enough to let the pasta continue cooking even away from the stove and, at the same time, absorb the flavors from the sauce. By dinner time, the pasta would be fully cooked but not soggy and all the excess liquid would have been fully absorbed.
Half-cook the spaghetti. As soon as the noodles are pliable, strain them and splash with a cup of cold water. Place the bacon in a skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until brown and the bacon has rendered fat. If you don’t want the bacon fat in your sauce, strain the fat at this point. Drain the bacon in paper towels.
Reheat the skillet and pour in the olive oil. Add the ground pork and cook over medium-high heat until golden brown. Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers, and bay leaf, and cook until the onions are soft. Return the bacon to the skillet. Increase the heat to high and add the sliced hotdogs. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, beef broth, and sugar. Bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. You will need less salt if the beef broth has already been seasoned. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the half-cooked spaghetti to the skillet and toss well. Turn off the heat.
At this point, I divided the spaghetti into portions–the one we would bring to our get-together and the one we would leave for the kids’ dinner. I placed what we would bring into a sealable container and poured over enough sauce. In the portion we were leaving for the kids, I transferred to a platter and poured some sauce all over it. The photo was taken 10 minutes later, just before we left the house. The spaghetti we brought to the get-together was reheated in the microwave. It was fully cooked but not soggy. All the excess sauce has been absorbed by the pasta as well.