The flavor profiles from the chili, cilantro pesto, and black bean pasta are familiar, and yet the uniqueness of the black beans in pasta form, and the vibrancy and intensity of the cilantro in pesto form makes this dish extra special, I think.
After years of making all kinds of chili, I think the best chili has few ingredients, but quality ingredients. These days, for my homemade chili, I usually use just five ingredients. Pictured here are the first four: about half of a large diced onion, a can of diced tomatoes (I like the unsalted kind), some relatively lean ground beef, and some good quality chili powder.
The fifth ingredient that I never skip is ground cumin seed…to me this spice is key to making chili tastes like, well, chili. I sautee the ground beef with the chopped onion until the beef is browned and crumbly, then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of chili powder and 2 teaspoons of cumin seed and cook for an additional two minutes. Then I add the canned tomatoes and juices, plus maybe just a little more water. Then I add salt to taste and let it all simmer for 10 minutes, and good-bye, thank you, we’re done. Simple, and good.
Actually, really really good when you put this homemade chili on top of Trader Joe’s Black Bean Rotini and cilantro pesto, and then top the whole mess with some shredded cheese.
I’ve never, ever like my chili with beans, and I have no idea why, considering that I’m a pretty open-minded eater. But I love this chili served on top of black bean pasta! Go figure!
I do hope you’ll give black bean pasta a try. I’ve featured two other recipes with Trader Joe’s Black Bean Rotini here and here. You can find my recipe for homemade cilantro pesto here — the cilantro pesto adds a citrusy foil and herbal zing that makes this dish really shine. Here’s the printable recipe for the basic ground beef chili:
- One pound of ground beef or ground round
- ½ large onion, or 1 small onion, medium diced
- One 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place diced onions and ground beef together in large skillet over medium heat and cook until meat is well browned and crumbly.
- Add chili powder and ground cumin, and cook two more minutes.
- Add canned tomatoes and juices to ground beef and spices, and add extra water if desired.
- Lower heat and simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
- Reheats well.
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