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Cincinnati Spaghetti

Cincinnati Spaghetti


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 2-3 slices smoky bacon, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 4-5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 3 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder or chili powder blend, preferably Gebhardts brand (a couple of palmfuls)

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika (a palmful)

  • 1 teaspoon allspice (1/3 palmful)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (eyeball the amount in your palm)

  • A healthy pinch of ground cloves

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (about 1/2 palmful), lightly crushed in palm

  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 cups beef stock

  • 1 can tomato sauce (14 ounces)

  • 1 can fire-roasted crushed or diced tomatoes (32 ounces)

  • 1 can red kidney beans (14 ounces), drained

  • 1 1/2 pounds bucatini or spaghetti


Heat the EVOO in large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and crisp, then add the sirloin and brown well; add the onions, garlic, jalapeño peppers, chili powder, cocoa powder, paprika, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, oregano and Worcestershire sauce. Cook until the onions are tender, 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir for a minute, then add the stock, tomato sauce, crushed or diced tomatoes and beans. Bring to a bubble; reduce the 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 to thick. 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 the starchy cooking water just before draining the pasta. Add the starchy cooking water to the meat sauce; drain the pasta and return to the hot pot. Toss the pasta with the tongs, combining the starchy cooking water and about 2/3 of the sauce.

Transfer the pasta to a large serving platter and top with the remaining sauce. Set up the toppings in front of the platter.