Because I knew I was going to be busy with those, I needed dinner to be fairly low-key with little preparation. The only real work I needed to do for the Smokey Chili with Pasta I made tonight was to chop an onion! After we dropped the spiral-shaped pasta, we began softening said chopped onion in a touch of olive oil. A pound of lean ground sirloin is then added to cook away - if you use a fattier ground beef, you could probably just add the beef and onion together to cook at the same time. If you do this, I would drain off the accumulated fat before continuing on.
To give this chili a richer tomato flavor, without having to let it simmer for awhile, a couple cans of condensed tomato soup are added. At the same time, red kidney beans and two types of chili powders are stirred in, along with a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder for added depth. No, it doesn't make the chili taste at all like chocolate - it brings just a little bitterness that amps up the flavor. After this mixture has come to a boil, the hot pasta is added in and the chili is done once the ingredients are thoroughly heated through. I usually drain and rinse canned beans before using them, however, this recipe calls for that viscous liquid to be added. I almost didn't pour it in (sorry, it just doesn't seem to be all that appetizing!), but I went ahead and was glad I did it. It brought a thick, hearty body to this speedy chili and an extra layer of flavor since the mixture was not going to simmer for hours. The added heat from the hot chili powder blend had just enough kick for our tastes, but we both thought it would be just as good with a more mild spice mix.
Smokey Chili with Pasta