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Cincinnati Spaghetti

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 55 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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2 tablespoons EVOO

2 to 3 slices smoky bacon, finely chopped

1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (fattier) or sirloin (leaner)

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it

2 tablespoons ancho chile powder or chili powder blend, a couple of palmfuls

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika, a palmful

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, lightly crushed in palm, about 1/2 a palmful

1 teaspoon allspice, 1/3 palmful

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, eyeball the amount in your palm

4 to 5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 healthy pinch ground cloves

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups beef stock, plus extra for reheat

One 32-ounce can fire roasted crushed or diced tomatoes

One 14-ounce can red kidney beans, drained

One 14-ounce can tomato sauce


1 1/2 pounds bucatini or spaghetti

Toppings bar:

Finley chopped raw white, red or green onions

Shredded Cheddar

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Pickled jalapeno slices

Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley


  1. Heat the EVOO in a large Dutch oven or soup pot, over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and crisp. Add the beef and brown well. Add the Worcestershire, chile powder, cocoa powder, paprika, oregano, allspice, cinnamon, garlic, jalapenos, onions and cloves. Cook until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir a minute, and then add the stock, tomatoes, beans and tomato sauce. Bring to a bubble, and then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal. Reheat over medium heat, stirring frequently, adding water or stock to thin if the sauce gets too thick.
  2. To serve, while the sauce heats, bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Season the boiling water with salt and add the pasta, cook to al dente. Remove 1 cup of starchy cooking water just before draining the pasta. Add the cooking water to the meat sauce, drain the pasta and return it to the hot pot. Toss the pasta with tongs, combining the starchy cooking water and about two-thirds of the sauce. Transfer the pasta to a large serving platter and top with the remaining sauce. Set up the onions, Cheddar, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pickled jalapeno and cilantro in front of the platter.
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