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Cowboy Spaghetti with Cheddar Cheese Sauce


  • 1 pound spaghetti

  • Salt

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 3 slices smoky bacon, chopped

  • 1 pound ground sirloin

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (eyeball it)

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (a palmful)

  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin (half a palmful)

  • 1/2 bottle pale beer (eyeball it)

  • 1 can chopped or crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (14 ounces)

  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, finely chopped

  • 4 scallions, chopped


Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt, then the pasta and cook spaghetti until al dente, according to package directions. Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add EVOO and bacon. Brown and crisp bacon, about five minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve. Drain off a little excess fat if necessary, but leave just enough to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the sirloin and crumble it with a wooden spoon as it browns, about 3-4 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and season with salt, pepper, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and cumin. 

Cook for another 5-6 minutes. Add the beer, cook for one minute more then add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring up to a bubble and continue to cook for five minutes. While the meat sauce is cooking, make the cheese sauce: heat a small saucepot over medium heat and add butter. When the butter melts, stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and then the milk. Thicken for two minutes, then stir in the cheese and melt, another two minutes. Stir in the jalapeños and scallions. Season with a little salt and pepper Drain spaghetti, add to the meat sauce and combine. 

Pour into a large serving bowl and pour the cheddar cheese sauce over the top.