Jolly Spaghetti, this is one pasta that defies all Italian pasta rules, for first timers it will be a shock to their system because what you see is not what it seems. It’s one dish that Filipinos all over the world crave for, this super soft noodles drenched in a bright red meat sauce with sliced hotdogs and sometimes ham, its sweet, its savoury, a bit spicy (not hot) and very rich topped with a melting cheese, this would make Italians cringe but Filipinos smile.
It’s a quintessential birthday dish specially for kids, birthdays and special occasions won’t be complete without this, either the party is held in Jollibee or as a takeaway, it is a must. For most Filipinos this is their first pasta experience, for some this is the only pasta they know, we grew with it, we breathe it, we live by it, hence Filipinos overseas crave for this, and a minute Jollibee opens up in the country their in or a Filipino from other countries visit a place with Jollibee, I bet you they will be queuing up for this in no time. It’s one of the top items on a Filipinos comfort dish, this humble pasta that Jollibee introduced to us.
So, what constitutes a Jolly Spaghetti by Jollibee? I don’t really know, it will be a top secret even people who work there don’t know what it is made of that is why Filipinos everywhere try to copy it which brings us to the Pinoy Spaghetti, almost similar but not quite. I tried to imitate it many times by identifying the ingredients every time had a chance dining in on a Jollibee restaurant and the recipe below is the closest one, I achieved so far. I am not saying this is the exact recipe but try it, this came quite close.
Now let’s dissect what’s on it, first pasta is soft, so this is easy, we just need to overcook the noodles. Next one is the sauce, this one is harder since you need to find the right balance of sweetness, spiciness and savouriness which is achieved by using a mixture of Filipino style spaghetti sauce, banana ketchup, liver spread and condensed milk (yes condensed milk). Brands have to be specific as I tried other brands it does not taste similar, and the nearest ones to the flavour I want was the use of UFC Sweet Filipino Style Spaghetti Sauce or Del Monte Filipino Style Spaghetti Sauce, for the Banana Ketchup it will be Jufran Banana Ketchup or UFC Banana Ketchup, and for the Liver Spread it should only be Reno, as for the condensed milk, it does not matter, they all taste the same as long as it is sweetened. Another key thing is do not overload it with minced beef, you don’t want it to taste beefy, it’s just added there for a bit of flavour and texture. Finally, the cheese must be quick melt or any processed cheese. Now let’s go to the recipe.