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Cincinnati-Style Chili Recipe
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- One 16-ounce can tomato sauce
- One 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened chocolate
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pound spaghetti
- Cheddar cheese, shredded, for garnish
I liken this regional style of chili to an American version of bolognese. A deeply flavorful meat-tomato sauce with a complex spice profile, served over spaghetti and topped with shredded Cheddar and chopped onions. If you're thinking, chili...on spaghetti? Really? Believe it. Even this devout Texas chili fan has been made a convert.
And as a side note, let me also just say that from my experience, there are no hard and fast rules for chili — it's a constant game of tasting and adjusting, so trust your palate.
In a medium pot over medium heat, sauté 2/3 cup of the onion and garlic in the oil for about 3-5 minutes, until it starts to get soft. Add the ground beef, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and cayenne, crumbling the beef as it cooks.
Once the beef is cooked and no longer pink, add the water, beer, tomato sauce, and tomato paste and mix together. Add the chocolate and vinegar, then simmer the mixture uncovered over medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes, until it has thickened but is still soupy.
While the chili is simmering, cook the spaghetti in a pot of boiling water, about 8 minutes, or until al dente, then drain.
When ready to serve, divide the pasta into bowls, cover with a heaping spoonful of chili, then top with shredded Cheddar cheese and a sprinkling of the remaining raw, chopped onions.