A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 09, 2006
Texas Spaghetti (or Mexican Spaghetti)

What is Texas spaghetti? Some recipes call for ham and some newer ones include chicken.

“Texas spaghetti” is probably another name for “Mexican spaghetti,” a dish served since at least the 1910s that usually includes ham, onions, and chili powder. Both “Texas Spaghetti” and then “Mexican Spaghetti” historical citations follow.


Party SPaghetti
Texas Spaghetti
Not Italian and makes LOTS of it!
2 1/2 lb. ground round
4 or more to taste garlic cloves, minced
2-16 oz. cans of tomatoes
1-10 oz can of Rotel (tomatoes & peppers)
8 oz of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1/2 cup chopped ripe olives
1 med. onion, chopped
2 lbs. American cheese, cubed
1 lb. package of spaghetti, cooked
1 lb. bacon, cooked crispy & crumbled
salt & pepper to taste

Brown the meat and toss in the garlic cloves at the end for a couple of minutes.  Mix all the other ingredients together gently, and you need a huge bowl.  Pour into a large baking dish, or use 2 smaller ones.  Either cook now or cover and refrigerate for several hours, and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees, longer if chilled. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

If your local supermarket doesn’t carry Rotel, throw in another can of tomatoes and chop up some hot peppers to suit your taste, or add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Great dish for a buffet. 

Recipe Land
Texas Spaghetti
Ingredients & Directions
4 Chicken breasts, boned and skinned...seasoned and then poached, chop, put aside - poaching water
2 lb Spaghetti per 4 chicken Breasts....cook according to package and reserve directions using the water chicken was poached in. 2 lb block Velveeta or similiar cheese product, cubed 1 can Rotel Tomatoes

Once the chicken and spaghetti have been prepared as shown above....mix all ingredients together and spread in 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake

The Texas Cookbook
by Arthur and Bobbie Coleman
New York: A. A. Wyn, Inc.
1949
Pg. 109:
“Hap’s" Texas Spaghetti
1/2 pound bacon, minced fine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cups finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 1/2 cups peeled tomatoes
1 cup chopped uncooked cured ham
1/2 teaspoon powdered thyme
Black pepper
1 1/2 cups beef consome
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 one-pound packages fine spaghetti
Grated Parmesan or American cheese

Saute the bacon in the olive oil until it begins to get crisp. Add the onions and parsley, and cook until the onions are golden. Add the celery, carrots, tomatoes, ham, and consomme, and simmer for 30 minutes. Then add the pepper, salt, sage, thyme, cloves, chili powder, and sugar. Dilute the tomato paste with the wine, and add. Continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes.

While the above is going on, cook the spaghetti until it is tender, in 3 quarts of boiling water to which 1 tablespoon of salt has been added. Test by biting a strand. When it is tender, drain in a colander. Place servings of spaghetti on plates. Top each with sauce, and sprinkle with grated cheese. This makes up enough for 8 people.

To lend still more flavor and goodness, add 1 small can of mushrooms, sauteed, to the sauce just before serving.

4 October 1951, Ada (OK) Evening News, pg. 8:
The third man insisted that Texas had developed a much better recipe. The sauces for the first two recipes were cooked for a very long time, while the Texas recipe is quickly prepared. In this, tomato sauce as well as tomato paste was an ingredient. In the others, imported Italian tomatoes were used. While these are very good indeed, I have made what I call a very fine sauce, with our own domestic canned tomatoes.
(...) (An “Italian Spaghetti” recipe follows first—ed.)
Texas Spaghetti
1/2 pound bacon, minced fine
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped ham
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup consomme
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup wine
2 1-pound packages fine spaghetti, cooked
Grated cheese

Fry bacon in olive oil until slightly crisp. Add onion and parsley. Cook 1 minute. Add vegetables, ham, tomato sauce, consomme and seasonings and simmer 20 minutes. Mix tomato paste and wine. Add to sauce and stir over heat 3 minutes. Have ready the cooked spaghetti. Place on each plate, top with sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese. Yield: 3 servings.

3 May 1951, Walla-Walla (WA) Union-Bulletin, “Bigger, Better Texas Spaghetti,” pg. 17, col. 2:
Here’s a meal to bolster the lone star state’s reputation for the biggest and best. Called Texas spaghetti, it’s a bigger and better version of an old time favorite.

The tomato sauce is best when covered and cooked slowly until thick. Marjoram, thyme and bay leaf point up the flavor of the piquant sauce that is ladled over the cooked spaghetti.

Melt 2 tabls. fat in large skillet and brown 1 lb. cubed round steak well (about 19 minutes). Add 3 1/2 cups cooked tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 tbls. chopped green pepper, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1/2 tsp. thyme, and 1 large bay leaf.

Mix well then cover and simmer 1 hour until meat is tender. Remove cover and simmer 15 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Remove bay leaf. Cook 8 oz. long spaghetti in boiling salted water about 15 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse with hot water. Arrange spaghetti on hot platter and pour sauce over it. Serve with parmesan cheese. Serves 4. 

30 March 1989, Chicago Daily Herald, section 6, pg. 4, col. 2:
TEXAS SPAGHETTI
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
1 large onions, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 (20-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in juice
1 (48-ounce) can tomato and vegetable juice
1 teaspoon each: Salt, pepper, sweet basil, celery salt, parsley flakes, oregano, dill weed, thyme, beau monde, garlic powder, ground cloves
1 (1-pound) package vermicelli
1 (8-ounce) package American cheese

Heat oil in Dutch oven. Add ground beef and brown. Add onions and green pepper, sauteeing until tender. Add tomatoes with juice, tomato and vegetable juice and seasonings. Let simmer covered one hour. Break vermicelli into pieces and add uncooked to the pot. Simmer covered another 15 minutes. Arrange American cheese slices on top. Heat until melted. Serves six to eight.

23 May 1912, Washington Post, pg. 5:
Mexican Spaghetti.—Melt two tablespoonfuls of butter in a granite saucepan. When hot add four ounces of spaghetti, broken small, half an onion chopped fine, a teacupful of canned tomatoes, half a teaspoonful of salt, and a little cayenne pepper. Stir till slightly browned, and then add a large cupful of hot water and simmer till the water is absorbed and the spaghetti is tender.

14 March 1914, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 10:
Mexican Spaghetti.
Boil one-half package of spaghetti for fifteen minutes, salting well. Fry in bacon drippings five medium sized onions sliced. Heat a can of tomatoes, add salt and pepper to taste, and a tablespoon of sugar wit ha dash of paprica. Stir these ingredients into the drained macaroni, pour into a buttered baking dish, lay five slices of bacon on top, pushing this down so that it will be under the liquid. Bake until brown.—Kindness of Mrs. E. K.

29 March 1919, Fort Wayne (IN) Journal-Gazette, “Four Different Ways Nations Prepare Spaghetti,” pg. 7, cols. 3-4:
Mexican Spaghetti.
1/2 pound spaghetti
2 pork chops
1 tablespoonful of fat
2 cupfuls of tomato
1 onion
1 green pepper
Salt
Place the fat in an iron frying-pan and heat well, then place the chops in the pan and turn until browned on both sides. Continue cooking, then add the tomatoes, chopped onion and pepper and salt, and cover. Stew slowly until the meat falls apart. Boil the spaghetti until tender, then drain, place in the serving dish and cover with the meat sauce.

26 November 1929, Los Angeles Times, Chef Wyman’s Recipes, pg. A6:
MEXICAN SPAGHETTI AND PORK
Take one pound of lean pork, and put it through the fine knife of the meat grinder, make a cake of it, and brown it well on both sides, ad to it, two cupfuls of tomatoes, that have been put through a sieve, one finely chopped green pepper, one finely sliced medium-sized onion, and allow to cook slowly for half an hour. Then add a seasoning of salt, white pepper, and two tablespoonfuls of capers, or chopped green olives. Cook and simmer for fifteen minutes longer. Boil half a pound of spaghetti until tender, form into a ring on the outside of the platter, place the cooked mixture inside of it and garnish with fried apples.

17 September 1957, Charleston (WV) Gazette, pg. 8C, col. 1:
“Spaghetti Goes South-of-Border,”
Mexican spaghetti is a supper dish with a new flavor.

This casserole dish combines beef and spaghetti with olives, whole kernel corn, cheese and tomato soup. The bit of chili powder adds a real south of the border flavor.

The menus for such a meal includes a tossed green salad, hard rolls or crusty French bread and any fresh fruit dessert that best suits your taste. A slice of melon with a wedge of lemon or lime would be ideal.

For the dish:
3/4 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons fat
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup diced green pepper
1/3 cup sliced stuffed olives
1 cup whole kernel corn
1 cup (1 pkg.) shredded cheddar cheese
1 10-1/2 ounce can condensed tomato soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
4 oz. spaghetti cooked according to package directions

Melt fat in heavy frying pan. Add beef and onions and cook over medium heat until meat is lightly browned. Gently stir in remaining ingredients mixing well. Pour mixture into a buttered two-quart casserole and bake in a 325 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or heat in electric frying pan. Makes five to six servings.

16 October 1958, Los Angeles Times, pg. A8:
Here’s a new spaghetti recipe to add to your collection. “Mexican spaghetti” is a flavorful combination of beef, canned tomato sauce, chili powder, spaghetti and ripe olives baked in a casserole. It makes a delicious luncheon dish for a fall day.

Serve it with crisp French rolls, an endive salad, baked pears and milk. 

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, November 09, 2006 • Permalink