Recipe Friday: Cincinnati Style Spaghetti

skyline chiliI'm an Ohio gal through and through and one of the places I've always loved visiting when I get home is Skyline Chili where they serve Cincinnatti Style Chili. Just writing this article is suddenly weakening my resolve to try a gluten-free and sugar-free regimen for a while in an effort to see how that plays into one's preparedness efforts. *sigh* Imagine my delight though when I realized I can easily make my own pasta, even while observing gluten-free criteria. Yay!

Now, this recipe will surprise you, primarily because it calls for cocoa in the recipe. Yep. Believe it or not, chocolate is actually considered an "unami" food which can elevate the experience of the palate! In fact, my favorite cheese to buy has been brined in a cocoa mixture and it elevates the sweetness of the dairy several notches! The cocoa also does the perfect job of it with this style of "chili" which is really more like a spaghetti meat sauce that meets Aztec molecocoa influence. *grin* As you serve this to your guests, piled high with thinly grated cheddar cheese, they'll never believe that this could ALL come from your long-term pantry and be made without any electricity. (Otherwise known as "food storage" food. Ugh! Oh, how I loathe that term.)  Feel free to substitute any other ground meat that you'd like to try. I've made it with ground sausage and ground turkey that I've canned in the past, as well as black beans, and frankly, the black beans were my favorite non-beef option.

By the way, since spaghetti requires the least amount of space than most of your other pasta's (fettucine and angel hair not withstanding, I'm all for finding a way to use that kind of a pasta in my dish as opposed to bulkier types in the interest of space and cost. I'll save the fresh pasta making for things like ravioli, tortelinni or gnocchi. Enjoy!

When you make this for your family, be sure to send us your comments about this recipe and even a picture! We're all about giving recognition to those who are striving to be more self-sufficient.

Cincinnati Style Chili

This “chili” dish is actually served on top of cooked spaghetti. It is often served with black beans instead of beef. And is usually accompanied by shredded cheddar cheese on top. If you don’t have real cheese on hand, you can also use Velveeta on top for serving.


1 can of canned beef (about 16 ounces)

1 tablespoon of granulated onion

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

2 cans of diced tomatoes. (You can use stewed tomatoes as well)

1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

1 cup of water

2 tablespoons of chili powder

1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of ground allspice

8 oz. of cooked and drained spaghetti


Sautee the beef, onion, garlic in your intended cooking pan. (pressure cooker or Dutch oven) Cook stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the lumps and until the beef is heated through. (about 4-5 minutes) Add the tomatoes and their liquid, water, tomato sauce, chili powder, cocoa, and allspice.

If you’re cooking this in a Dutch oven, simply cook it low and slow for about 8 hours, stirring occasionally.


This is not a dish that you can easily cook in your pressure cooker as the sugars, which naturally exist in the tomato sauce, have the propensity to scorch. But you can successfully do this in a solar oven or Dutch oven!


Top the spaghetti with your cooked mixture and enjoy!


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I grew up in Cincy and this

I grew up in Cincy and this chili was a staple. Now in Texas, it's a required stop whenever I go home. I've never found a recipe that could do it justice so I'm excited to give this one a try. The cocoa may be the secret ingredient I was missing. :)

I have been putting cinnamon

I have been putting cinnamon in my chili for years, and I started putting cocoa powder in it a year or so ago. I love it! Just add beans to the above recipe, and it is a lot like my chili. :)

Hi! I love reading your

Hi! I love reading your posts (my fave are your recipes- being a foodie myself). I was wondering if you had a GF pasta recipe you've found to be good that can also be used in a pasta maker. We've recently done a major lifestyle shift to mostly GF flours & what not & am looking for a recipe. That way I can also be sure to start stocking up those items as well. Thank you!!

Canned la choy bean sprouts

Canned la choy bean sprouts are a gluten free, low carb way to enjoy spaghetti. I recommend cooking them (after draining them) with the sauce though for a short while.


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