Chili meets Spaghetti. They fall hard for one another, quickly marry and soon baby Chilighetti is born! They just had to name their love child after themselves. Chili+Spaghetti=Chilighetti! That’s not actually how this recipe came into existence. However, I always did like a good love story! The truth is it’s the only chili I knew as a kid growing up. It wasn’t until I had dinner at my future husband’s house that I tasted chili without spaghetti noodles. I couldn’t put my finger on it while I was eating it but something was missing. Duh! It was the spaghetti noodles.
Chilighetti is my mother’s recipe. My dear mother who couldn’t cook! I have no idea where she got this unorthodox recipe. I’m guessing though that she added spaghetti noodles to a simple chili she’d made to stretch a meal. We were a family of six and for many years, I know momma was on a tight budget. I was stunned to learn, at the age of sixteen, that this was not a common version of chili. As I grew older and ate in various restaurants, it continued to shock me that any chili I ordered came sans the spaghetti noodles.
When I married, Chilighetti was the version of chili I made for my family. My siblings did the same. At the point the next generation makes a family recipe, it becomes a tradition. So, Chilighetti became “our” family’s Chili recipe and the tradition began. As my children got older, they would come home after eating chili somewhere else and tell me, “Mom, I had chili at so-and-so’s and it was just chili. No noodles, just chili.” When I think about that, I just have to smile! My now grown children make Chilighetti for their families and the very same story applies. Chilighetti is truly my family’s traditional chili dish!
After years and years of making my mother’s recipe for Chilighetti, I updated it. As I become a healthier eater, my cooking changed. I love mom’s chili! I just wanted to “health it up” a tad. Oh my! When my siblings and children read this blog, they’re going to panic. Hey there family… It’s still the same recipe! I just added a few carrots, lean ground chicken and substituted the water with chicken broth. Lol… They all love me, so I think they’ll forgive me! Maybe!
The addition of sauteed carrots and chicken broth adds a great layer of flavor. Using ground chicken along with lean ground beef eliminates so much of the fat chili seems plagued by. Plus, the extra veggies stretch the recipe even further.
I made a double batch of this awesome Chilighetti when preparing to write this blog because it just so happened that darling husband and I were planning a trek to the woods for the day.
It was cool and misty. A perfect Fall day for a hot bowl of chili. So along with a few other homemade comfort foods, I took a thermos of the Chilighetti I’d just finished making. We enjoyed a fun picnic in the woods. So yummy! So warming! So filling. I froze the remainder in gallon sized freezer bags to pull out and eat later. It freezes very well.
Now, this is “Tailgating!” I love to throw a picnic together and take a drive. The woods were so beautiful that day! The leaves were just beginning to turn the jewel toned colors of fall. It was perfect! (I’m a little bit laughing at myself looking at the picture below. Us Blogger’s are gonna style our food no matter where we’re at or what we’re doing! Am I right?)
Along with some Oven Baked Chicken and Real Pumpkin Cupcakes, apples and coffee, we enjoyed a nice little crock of Chilighetti! We had such a great time together eating our picnic in the woods. And we both enjoyed every single mouthful of our hot Chilighetti.
Note: If you read my last blog, Blogging Tips, you’ll remember I talked about hunting for food prop dishes. I found these little chili crocks in the photos above at my local Antique Mall. They were just $4.00 for the two of them. I love them! They’re oven safe and can be put in the dishwasher. Sometimes, food prop dishes are not actually usable. I will keep these forever! Aren’t they darling?
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ lb ground chicken or turkey
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced onions
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 14.5 oz cans tomato sauce
- 4 cups water
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon Acho chili powder (optional)
- 2 cups cut spaghetti noodles; Fideo
- 2 14.5 oz cans chili beans, undrained
- 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper or to taste
- Grated cheddar cheese - optional
- Sour Cream - optional
- Sliced avocados - optional
- Thinly sliced scallions - optional
- Corn chips - optional
- In a soup pot, fry ground beef and chicken. Drain off excess fat, set aside
- In same soup pot over medium heat, saute carrots in vegetable oil for 3-5 minutes. Add onions and saute 3-5 minutes longer until the onions become translucent. Add minced garlic and stirring constantly, saute for 1 minute longer until garlic is fragrant.
- Add drained meats back to soup pot and pour in the chicken broth, tomato sauce, water, chili powders and cumin.
- Bring soup to a boil, add cut spaghetti noodles and cook to 75% of package directions; Aldente'
- Reduce heat to medium, add chili beans, salt and pepper to taste and heat thoroughly
- Serve with optional grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced avocados and scallions
- Note: This recipe can be made in the crock pot. Throw all but the beans, cut spaghetti and optional ingredients in the crock pot and cook on high for 6-8 hours or until meat and vegetables are cooked
- Add beans and spaghetti noodles the last 30 minutes to heat through
If you make my family’s version of Chili with Spaghetti, Chilighetti, please let me know. I’m curious to know what others think of adding spaghetti noodles to chili. It’s worked in my family for four generations now. Yes, I’m that old. My grandchildren love it. And although I know they eat other versions, I also know that they absolutely associate Chilighetti with this grandma!
Below is a photo of Chillighetti made by Donna Jo of Albany, Oregon. Her review:
“Well I did it @candiedliving! This is absolutely delicious! I made it just like your recipe from your family’s generations and I added all the fixins! Thank you so much!”
Thank you very much for making DJ! I so appreciate you giving my family’s recipe for Chillighetti a try. Beyond happy you liked it! Great Big Hugs!!!!
Check out another photo below! Isn’t it beautiful. Melanie, my foodie friend from Milan, Italy made Chilighetti and sent me her photo. Her review:
“We Loved It!”
If you make my family recipe for Chillighetti, please send a photo. I would love to add it right here along with the others. Happy Fall!!!