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Pasilla Bolognese Spaghetti

Pasilla Bolognese Spaghetti
Pasta is fantastic.  And versatile.  And one of the things I can count on when I don't feel like cooking anything.  I don't think there's ever a time when there is not some in the (my) pantry.  Which is why I find it so strange that I don't blog about it all that often.  I seem to go in spurts.  I guess that's just because it usually winds up being an everday meal.  Or something I've already blogged about.  Most of our favorites are tried and true, so we don't stray all that often.  Or maybe I just wind up tossing it with regular marinara, alfredo, or simply freshly grated Parm and some butter or olive oil.  It's a great vehicle for using up odds and ends of both veggies and meat.  So...

This dish is simple.  One that we'll most likely make every month or so.  It's a fantastic medley of Mexican-American meets Italian-American.  And it's something that the whole family devoured with quiet mmmmm's and aaaahh's.
Pasilla Bolognese Spaghetti
Beefy Bolognese meets earthy Pasilla chiles.  The raisiny undertones of the pasillas seem like they were just meant to holding court alongside the tomato in this sauce.  And the understated tang of the crema mellows the combo and perfectly coats the spaghetti.

I'm a little bit ga-ga over this deceptively delicious dish right now.  It's earned a way into "the rotation".

Pasilla Bolognese Spaghetti
Beefy Bolognese meets earthy Pasilla chiles in this Italian-Mexican mash-up!
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Pasilla Bolognese Spaghetti
by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Keywords: simmer entree beef chiles pasta American Mexican

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
  • ¼ c. olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
  • 5 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, & sliced
  • 1 (28 oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes w/ juices
  • 1½ c. chicken (or beef) stock/broth
  • big pinch dried Mexican oregano
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1½ lb. ground beef
  • ½ c. Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 16 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and saute for ~5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chiles and cook, stirring constantly, for another 30 seconds. You will notice the chiles change color and release some of their oils. Add tomatoes with their juices, chicken stock, oregano, and a big pinch of salt. Simmer for 8-10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Transfer to the jar of a blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water when draining.

Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in the same skillet that you cooked the sauce in. Add ground beef and season it with salt and pepper. Cook until brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks, 12-15 minutes. Drain fat from pan.

Pour pasilla sauce over the meat and simmer for 8 minutes or so, stirring from time to time. Remove from heat and stir in crema.

Combine drained pasta and meat sauce in one pan over medium heat. Grate a good amount (½ - 1 cup) of Parmesan over and stir it in. If sauce seems too thick, stir in some of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.

Serve with more freshly grated Parmesan and a smattering of chopped parsley, if you wish.

-adapted from Mexican Made Easy
Pasilla Bolognese Spaghetti