Espaguetis (Spaghetti a la Dominicana)

Espaguetis (Spaghetti a la Dominicana)

I was caught off-guard the first time I was served a plate of Dominican Espaguetis (Spaghetti a la Dominicana), having always been accustomed to my pasta al dente, a la italiana. Well. This spaghetti was positively bathed in an orange gleam of oil, with shards of green peppers, chunks of salami, and, of all things, vinegar (!) thrown into the mix. But a bigger shock still was to see the spaghetti sharing a plate with a mound of rice. Where I’m from, spaghetti takes second stage to no other cereal, and carries a meal on the shoulders of its own multifarious merits.

As far as I was concerned, this was nothing less than blasphemy.

Espaguetis (Spaghetti a la Dominicana)

I shunned los espaguetis for a long time, turning my nose up at the incognito noodles. Until one day, we loaded up the truck en route to a velorio (or wake) for one of my husband’s relatives in the campo. It took us longer to get there than expected, and when we did, we discovered that the food had run out. Starving, we were given the keys to an aunt’s house, where we proceeded to whip up something quick for our rather large group of children, elderly, and your basically famished adults. The nearest colmado, however, could only offer us one option for an economical and plentiful meal: espaguetis.

Hunger having weakened my resolved, and for fear of appearing the spoiled gringa in the campo, I had no choice but to cease and desist my anti-espaguetis campaign. With a tinge of picante, procured in the form of hot peppers straight from the auntie’s garden, and no rice to upstage the star of the show, I found myself enjoying spaghetti in a whole new way. I think I ate two plates.

Espaguetis (Spaghetti a la Dominicana)

If a moral were to be attached to this story perhaps most apropos would be: never judge a spaghetti by its sauce. Or, ask yourselves, what’s in a spaghetti? A spaghetti by any other cooking method would still taste as sweet. Okay, well, not sweet, per se, but just as good. Different, but good. That’s it – ¡viva la diferencia!

Jill Wyatt

Jill, a member of our original team (where we knew her as Aunt Jane), and contributor to our book, is Canadian, mom to two Canadian-Dominican boys and resided in the Dominican Republic for several years.

Espaguetis (Spaghetti a la Dominicana)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A pot full of spaghetti, a domino set and table, and a day at the beach; this is an experience that many a Dominican has lived and loved. Surprise friends and family, even those who raised an eyebrow when they saw you mixing all this. Be prepared for encores.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 lb [0.43 kg] of spaghetti
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 lb [0.43 kg] of Dominican "salami", diced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper cut into small cubes
  • ¼ cup pitted green olives
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of capers (optional)
  • 4 plum tomatoes cut into small cubes
  • 1 pinch of oregano
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon of vinegar (optional)
  • ½ cup of evaporated milk (optional, see notes)
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper, or to taste
  • ¼ cup of ground Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Boil the spaghetti until slightly softer than al dente having added 1 teaspoon of salt to the water (set aside remaining salt). Drain the water and set spaghetti aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Cook and stir the salami until it browns. Lower heat.
  4. Add onions, pepper, olives, garlic and capers and cook and stir for a minute, or until onions turn transparent.
  5. Add tomatoes and oregano, simmer covered until the tomatoes are cooked through (3-5 mins).
  6. Add tomato sauce and vinegar (do not add vinegar if you'll use milk). Stir to mix.
  7. Add milk and the spaghetti and mix well.
  8. Simmer over low heat for a minute. Stir often.
  9. Season with pepper and salt to taste.
  10. Serve hot with tostones or green salad. Garnish with the cheese.
No Dominican "salami"? Use ham or sliced pork sausage.

Do not add vinegar if you are using milk. Both ingredients are optional, as there not two homes where this dish is made the same. Both versions have their fans, I love both.
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{ 38 comments… add one }

  • lupe November 26, 2014, 2:10 PM

    Great husband is dominican and I’m Puerto Rican and I’ll tell you very easy to make and everyone loves it!

  • Isabel September 17, 2014, 3:40 PM

    OMG!!finally the spaghetti came out just like I always wanted to make them. This is a very easy to follow recipe. Thank you aunt Clara as I could never for the life of me get the results I wanted.

  • Angelica June 6, 2014, 9:15 PM

    I went to! Dr last month and i tried Dominican spaghetti for the first time and it was so good. I made this the other day and used your recipe, and it came out really good! Thank You!

  • Vanessa April 10, 2014, 7:26 PM

    My husband is Dominicano and I’m American. I’ve been so thankful for Aunt Clara’s recipes and the spaghetti my husband love it.He says just as good as if he was home. Thanks

  • Valerie February 9, 2014, 1:45 PM

    How about a bigger serving and using chicken can I use chicken?

    • Valerie February 9, 2014, 1:49 PM

      I mean I’ve tried this recipe before and it was delicious but I just wanted to try with chicken and I need a bigger serving like 9

  • miriam tate February 8, 2014, 10:35 PM

    I like trying new dishes.

  • dede December 2, 2013, 4:58 PM

    Coming from a Dominican… Its coming out wrong all ingredients are actually your Sofrito ….so its made to fry then add your sauce then mix everything to a medium cook ….

  • judy October 6, 2013, 8:22 PM

    I made these spaghettti this weekend and it was awesome. I am dominican raised in NY with domnican parents but I never learned to cook this way. It taste wonder. Thanks.

  • Jessica June 25, 2013, 12:32 AM

    Being a dominican college student makes me miss my moms cookin, Im glad this website is here so I can whip fast meals like this and feel like Im at home piggin out

  • melissa aleman December 21, 2012, 6:30 PM

    Hola Clara…while looking online for different receipes I came across your website…what a relief let me just tell you. My late father was born in raised in Santiago DR and my mother is American born and raised in the USA. My husband is Dominican as well and loves pasta. I don’t really care for it but it was great having a receipe that hits home…it was delicioso!! Thank you!!

  • Maximo De Herrera April 22, 2012, 4:21 PM

    I'm dominican born and raised by a domincan mother in New York City since the age of 10. My mother would often cook spaghettis and place them in the sauce where she had cooke her chicken with the same ingridients in this recipe. What a difference! The most delicious spagetti sauce in the world. Buen apetito. Of course, rice was served with this dish. If dominicans don't eat rice daily we might as well not have eaten on that particular day.

  • stephanie April 11, 2012, 4:38 PM

    I love your site!!!!

  • pablo March 2, 2012, 9:23 AM

    I was born in D.R, but I left when I was just 11, I grew up with my grandparents, it gives me great pleasure to see a website like this one and make dominican dishes when i don't feel like eating the regular or fast food. Thanks for giving me the opportunity of having domican food when i want to.

    • Aunt Clara March 2, 2012, 10:08 AM

      Thanks to you for visiting and commenting.

      • jodyk June 8, 2013, 5:55 PM

        just wanted to say that I love your picture. A recipe is just the beginning of great things try adding red peppers along with green or more garlic or in this dish I have know idea what Spanish salami is so I used chorizo, genoa, and a chunk of regular salami, anyway there’s no set rule if you can cook use your imagination and what ever you have in your fridge that you think goes with the recipe go for it GREAT WEB SITE!!! Jodyk

  • JERICA VIERA March 1, 2012, 12:15 PM

    i would like to thank you for this website … I could cook puertorican style.. but i wanted to learn how to corporate it as a dominican style .. bc my husband is dominican.. an i wanted to make a couple of dishes that he adores !! so i look every dish on this website… and also i add my little twist.. .but he loves it… an the empty plate's prove's it … thank you again.

  • Amour December 16, 2011, 11:31 AM

    on the first step do you add the salt before the draining or while the boiling is happening?

  • Rosalba October 9, 2011, 5:40 PM

    Hola tia clara, como puedo hacer espagetti blanco estilo dominicano.

    • Aunt Clara October 11, 2011, 3:50 AM

      He conocido muchas versiones, desde la Carbonara tradicional hasta, bueno, cosas bien extrañas.

  • Aunt Clara September 19, 2011, 8:52 AM

    @Jennifer: I am very happy to hear that.

    @Marlene: It's hard to know since each brand packages their salami in different weights. If you buy a one-pound pack, then use a quarter and so on.

    Did you weigh your spaghetti (or check the package)?

  • Marlene Mata September 19, 2011, 6:12 AM

    I tried this recipe for the first time (actually I ate this meal before but was made by my uncle from Brooklyn. I loved it!). Maybe I miscalculated the ingredients but I think the amount of sauce was not enough to cover the spaghetti. I guess I should double the amount for sauce? I am not good with math but I couldn't figure out what **1/4 lb. ** of salami diced into small cubes means… is it a whole package of salami or a half cut of salami package?

  • Jennifer September 19, 2011, 5:15 AM

    Muchisimas gracias, me quedo buenisimo.. Mi negro no espero los tostones, se comio la olla de espagueti vacia.. hehehehe.. Thank you..

  • Ysmenia June 13, 2011, 11:46 AM

    Now Im making dulce de coco.

  • Ysmenia Caba June 13, 2011, 11:46 AM

    I just made it.. I loved it and my daughter too, lets see what my puerto Rican boyfriend would say. Brings me back to my childhood.

  • Yasmin May 20, 2011, 1:17 PM

    THANK YOU!!! I've been looking for a recipe like this since a few years ago! My grandma used to make this all the time (yes, with a side of rice!!) and I loved it as a kid! She has since passed away, so I'm SO HAPPY to find this recipe!!! THANK YOU!!

  • Brian Pike March 31, 2011, 4:20 PM

    Can you throw up the national meal of La Bandera. I need La Bandera.

  • Patricia March 26, 2011, 7:54 PM

    Hello, what about "espaguetis con pollo guisado"?

    I have my version. I'd like to see yours.

    • Aunt Clara March 29, 2011, 4:13 PM

      Putting that in our list for future recipes. Thanks.

  • Aunt Clara March 23, 2011, 4:47 AM
  • Caroline March 23, 2011, 4:40 AM

    u thinkyou can post some of the ingridients in spanish? i know english but some of the ingredients name like buulger i dont know what they mean. ill appreciate it if you can post or email me them in spanish so i can try cooking it. im in culinary arts in my school so we cook everyday off scrap no instructions.

  • Ileana March 18, 2011, 5:22 PM

    I tried this recipe and it came out so wrong =(

    I was so looking forward for the greasy juicy taste it has. instead I was left with very pale unflavored spaguetti. And I'm just wondering what I could've done wrong. I chose to add the milk instead of the vinegar since I can recall my family using milk. but it came out horrible!. I have seen my family do this recipe without using salami, so I hope it wasn't bc I didnt add salami to it.please, any advise?

    totally frustrated,


    • Aunt Clara March 21, 2011, 3:50 PM

      No idea. I never heard anyone that had that problem. Perhaps you skipped a step or ingredient.

  • Damiana February 21, 2011, 10:22 AM

    I absolutely love, love, love, this website. I'm making the dishes I grew up eating for my boys and it's fun watching them enjoy them as much as I do.

  • Michele February 16, 2011, 9:21 AM

    Being Italian, I too was just about outraged when my Peruvian boyfriend asked "No rice with this?" as I served a hearty dish of macaroni for dinner. Was he crazy?! How dare he ask such a question! Another time he said I should put some of the sauce I made over rice (in place of macaroni). Ummm..I think not. Sauce is for pasta or dipping your bread into. Period. That being said……the first time I saw Dominican "spaghettis" I turned my nose up to it also. Salami and olives in spaghetti? What?! Well…..was I wrong. I LOVE it!!! One of my favorite Dominican dishes and I thank you for posting a recipe!! Can't wait to try making it myself.

    • Aunt Clara February 17, 2011, 7:07 AM

      Phew! I thought it was only us. If you think we've gone too far with spaghetti, you should see what the world has done to your pizza! Italian food rocks (a culinary trip to Italy is one of my best memories), I hope I can go again sometime.