Pasta is generally a simple dish, but comes in many varieties due to its versatility. Some pasta dishes are served as a first course in Italy because the portion sizes are small and simple. Pasta is also prepared in light lunches, such as salads or large portion sizes for dinner.
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Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili

Five-way Cincinnati Chili

When I lived in Ohio, I became aquainted with a dish called Cincinnati Chili. As the name implies, it originated in Cincinnati, but locals will often preface their description of it with "Well, it's not really chili...". So, what is it?

Ancient lore has it that Cincinnati Chili originated with immigrant restaurateurs from Macedonia. In 1922, brothers Tom and John Kiradjieff began serving a "stew with traditional Mediterranean spices" as a topping for hot dogs at their stand located next to a burlesque theater called the Empress. Tom Kiradjieff then used it to modify a traditional Greek dish, very likely Μακαρόνια με κιμά (spaghetti with minced meat) to come up with a dish he called "chili spaghetti". Eventually, grated cheddar, chopped onion, and kidney beans worked their way onto the dish, as toppings, to make it the foodstuff most beloved by Cincinnatians.

My recipe is a synthesis of three that I turned up in my research, trying to model it on Skyline Chili, the best known of the Cincinnati Chili parlors.

Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until the onion is translucent. Crumble the ground beef, very finely, into a slow-cooker and add the onion and garlic.

Add allspice, chili powder, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, and bay leaf. Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or LOW for 7 to 8 hours. Uncover for the final hour, if further thickening is desired.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions and transfer onto individual serving plates (small oval plates are traditional). Ladle Cincinnati Chili mixture over the cooked spaghetti and serve with toppings of your choice (Cincinnati Chili also works as a topping for hot dogs). The traditional "way" system of serving is:

Oyster crackers are served in a separate container on the side.

Serves 12.

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