Cincinnati chili can be more than pasta and meat sauce
By J.M. HIRSCH The Associated Press | April 01,2008
When it comes to ordering chili in Cincinnati, you've got to think in terms of numbers.
A two-way is chili over spaghetti. A three-way tops that with cheese. Add chopped onions or beans and you get a four-way. For a five-way, you'll need all of the above.
Unlike most other chilies, Cincinnati versions get only a mild heat from spices such as cumin, cinnamon, paprika and cayenne. It is thick, rich and not unlike a heavy meat sauce for pasta.
This version doesn't attempt to be authentic, which would call for slowly simmering the meat, rather than browning. Instead, it is made weeknight-friendly speeding things up with a quick sauté of the meat.
To deepen the flavors, the seasonings and tomato paste are heated with the oil at the start of the recipe. And the beans are added to the meat, rather than heated alone and spooned on top.
For a healthier version, use lean ground turkey and whole-wheat pasta. But however you do it, the result is a fast, savory meal that takes chili in an unexpected direction.
Three-way Cincinnati chili
Start to finish: 30 minutes
12 ounces spaghetti
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound lean ground beef
16-ounce can baked beans
1/4 cup red wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded yellow cheddar cheese
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, toss to coat, then cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, garlic and tomato paste. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the ground beef and sauté until nearly cooked through, about 8 minutes Add the beans and wine, mix well, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide the spaghetti between 4 pasta serving bowls. Top each with chili, then with shredded cheese.
Nutrition information per serving: 796 calories; 21 g fat (6 g saturated); 73 mg cholesterol; 103 g carbohydrate; 44 g protein; 11 g fiber; 954 mg sodium.