Kids love spaghetti. That’s a given. Spaghetti is a staple in children’s parties and fast food chains like MacDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s. Even Jollibee has something they pass off as spaghetti. I’m not a great fan of fast food spaghetti because, from experience, they have too much food coloring and extenders. Wendy’s used to have chili macaroni which was really good though a bit more expensive, but they have discontinued serving it for some time now. The point is, that most Filipino kids don’t know spaghetti beyond fast food spaghetti. Which is a pity.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Mix brine with enough fish stock to measure 1/2 cup. Chop or tear bread into very small pieces. Place them in a glass bowl. Add milk. Mash them with your hands until very well mixed and no coarse bread pieces are visible. To the bread-milk mixture, add the drained tuna, parsley, salt, pepper, and beaten egg. With your hands, mix everything thoroughly. Form into balls (I was able to make 20).
Heat a small skillet. Add cooking oil. When oil is very hot, fry tuna balls in batches (around 5 at a time). Roll them around to brown evenly. Remove balls as soon as they turn a golden brown. Drain in paper towels and keep warm.
In a deep saucepan, heat olive oil. Saute garlic until it starts to brown. Add onions and stir until onion turns transparent. Add bell pepper and cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and brine-water mixture. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and add basil. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Add pasta to sauce and toss to coat pasta evenly. Transfer to a serving plate and arrange tuna balls on top. Sprinkle with cheese.