I've made this spaghetti dish quite often in our apartment for my athlete brother and a couple of his football varsity teammates at U.P. Diliman. It's quite a favorite now, and recently one of my brother's closest among them asked if he could make baon the rest of the leftovers with him to class. It's really like finding unearthed treasure when something you've cooked with grocery ingredients becomes a fast favorite at home. Here is the recipe for my "Grocery Gal Spaghetti" with some simple steps.
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GROCERY GAL SPAGHETTI (Serves 4)
6-8 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil (adjust as you like)
Anchor butter salted, 3 tbsp
1 white onion finely chopped (medium to large)
1 head of garlic finely chopped (medium to large, not the small type)
3 Johnsonville Smoked Brats sausages sliced into 1/3 inch thick circles (the way you see hotdog circles in fastfood spaghetti) kitchen scissors make this process quicker for some. Make sure this has already been defrosted and is room temperature (original type or can also be the one with cheese inside).
Del Monte Italian Spaghetti Sauce 500ml (the big pack)
Italian seasoning or salt and pepper
1 pack 500g of pasta (I usually use San Remo spaghetti or linguini noodles)
3.5-4l of water (to save boiling time for cooking have that amount heated already in your airpot or a thermos nearby)
2 tbsp of sea salt/rock salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for additional topping at the end
Making the sauce
1. Heat a medium to large deep pan over a medium flame coat the bottom with oil, about half a cup or eight tbsp of oil.
2. Throw in the minced onion and garlic and sauté for about four to five minutes (until onions are transparent and before garlic just begins to brown, don't let garlic brown and burn).
3. Add the butter and allow it to melt and combine it with the onions, garlic, and oil.
4. Lower the flame from a higher medium to lower medium heat and add the Johnsonville smoked brats (you may have eaten these in Family Mart, they are popular and available in some leading groceries, Puregold and S&R included) in sliced circles (this sausage is already pre-cooked in the pack). Continue sautéing the sausage slices for about two minutes together with the onions and garlic, make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. The juices and fat from the sausage will merge with the oil and butter in the pan, adding flavor to your red sauce.
5. Pour in the Italian Spaghetti sauce from the pack (the whole pack) and mix together with the onion, garlic, and sausage mixture in the pan.
6. Mix the sauce constantly over lower medium heat until it starts to simmer (be careful the sauce might spit once it starts to bubble), partially cover with a lid and let simmer for about six to seven minutes more. Stir and check every two minutes so that stuff doesn't stick to the bottom.
7. Add a dash of extra virgin olive oil (maybe about two tablespoons) and finish with a bit of Italian seasoning at the end (if you have it, this is optional) then stir in.
8. Only add salt if the sauce needs it, taste the sauce first before adding any additional seasoning. Remember, the smoked sausages are already highly seasoned and salty.
9. Place in a sauce bowl and serve.
Making the pasta noodles
1. Bring the 3.5 litres of hot water to a steady rolling boil in a pot (the pot should be large enough so that there's about 1.5 inches of space on top in case the boiling water rises).
2. Add the 2 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the water (this will ensure your noodles aren't bland).
3. Throw in the 500g of pasta noodles once the water is already steadily boiling, NOT beforehand. The water should already be at a rolling boil when the noodles go in so that cooking time can be followed precisely.
4. Let the noodles boil and cook for as long as the instructions on the pack advise (which is usually eight to 10 minutes for San Remo non-instant pasta), but on about the eighth minute pull one noodle out and chew to check doneness and every minute that follows take another noodle out and chew till noodles have reached what is your preferred "al dente." Turn off the flame once you've decided the noodles are good.
5. Strain and toss noodles to remove excess water, place in a dish to serve.
Serve pasta, pour sauce, and shave cheese on top while it's still hot.
Try out my all-time favorite "Grocery Gal Spaghetti" and feel free to let me know how you adjusted yours! Lots of children and active teens love spaghetti so go ahead and try this, it just might become a new household favorite. It's certainly guaranteed gusto which in Italian means "taste" and in Tagalog means "like." Woohoo! See what I did there? Kain na!
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