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Qué Pasta? Mexican Spaghetti with Meat Sauce


  • 2 ancho chili peppers, stemmed and seeded

  • 3 cups chicken stock

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 3/4 pound ground beef

  • 3/4 pound fresh chorizo

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, pasted (finely chopped then mashed with salt) or grated

  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 pinches cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 1 bottle Mexican beer (12 ounces), such as Dos Equis brand

  • 1 pound spaghetti or whole wheat spaghetti

  • 1/2 cup grated queso asadero, cotija or Jack cheese (a couple handfuls), plus more for passing at the table

  • Finely chopped scallions, cilantro or parsley, for garnish


Simmer the peppers in the stock for 15 minutes, then puree the stock and softened peppers in a food processor. Meanwhile, heat the EVOO in heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and chorizo, brown for 12-15 minutes, then add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes more. Sprinkle in a little cinnamon, then add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the beer, stir a minute more, then add the stock and pepper puree. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. While the sauce simmers, bring water to a boil for the spaghetti. Salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Heads up: save a cup of starchy cooking water just before draining. After you drain the pasta, toss it with the reserved water, half of the sauce and a couple of handfuls of grated cheese. Serve in bowls with extra sauce on top, garnished with more cheese, scallions and cilantro or parsley.