Wednesday, January 18, 2012


How To Make Your Own Hybrid Spaghetti/Chili Dish!

It’s a scientifically proven fact that Italian and Mexican foods are pretty much the best kinds of food in existence. Yeah, you can argue about the small stuff, like how, technically, pizza is really more of an American creation than an Italian one, or how most of the supposedly Mexican dishes we eat today are actually bastardizations of authentic Mexican cuisine, but what the hell ever.

As a proponent of fusion food, I am shocked, dismayed and saddened by the general lack of Italian-Mexican mash-ups floating around the Internet. Surely, in a world where gargantuan casserole creations and calorie-loaded comestibles are not at all ironically celebrated by the denizens of cyberspace, there has to be a veritable cache of Mex-Italian recipes on the Web, right?

You can do the Google search for yourself. Or even better, you can run the search terms through YouTube, and see what you get. Needless to say, there is a dearth of I-Mexican food combos out there, and it’s a social malady that I decided to rectify myself.

Spaghetti and chili are two dishes that practically every family in America has some sort of time-honored recipe/ritual for. Even if you aren’t particularly Italian or specifically Hispanic, both foods are most likely staples of your diet, and although you probably haven’t noticed it before, the procedures for making both dishes are strikingly similar. For example, both processes involve pots, and boiling, and, uh…can openers. I mean, it’s like the two are mirror images of each other or something.

Well, one evening, I got the inspired idea to merge the two foodstuffs into a singularity. Why not, after all? You’re pretty much tinkering with the same ingredients, and you really don’t have to use up that much stove space to prepare both simultaneously. The two dishes have been flirting for years, anyway, so why not let them finally lock lips in culinary form?

Spaghetti-Chili. Chili-Spaghetti. Call it what you will. Ultimately, I decided on the moniker “Spa-Chili,” but feel free to call the end result of today’s kitchen experiment whatever you want. And kids? Be sure to have your parents’ permission before you play with kitchen utensils and apparatuses. Unless your parents are nonfunctional alcoholics, at which point I’d advise you to learn how to use that shit as soon as you can.

First up, the list of ingredients. Although we here at The Internet Is In America are all about getting freestyle all up in various things, we recommend adhering to the shopping list as much as you can…lest you feel like tweaking the formula, and potentially making everything all crappy-tasting and what-not.

Two boxes of pasta, preferably ONE thin spaghetti and ONE ziti
Two cans of beans, preferably ONE black beans and ONE kidney beans
Two bags of shredded cheese, preferably ONE quesadilla cheese and ONE Parmesan cheese
ONE small container of garlic powder
ONE small container of red pepper
One can/bottle of your favorite Alfredo sauce
One small container of sour cream
One bottle of jalapeno sauce
One bag of meatballs
A few notes here. At first glance, you may be tempted to substitute tomato sauce for the Alfredo sauce, since it’s such a commonality between spaghetti and chili. I would argue against this, primarily because the beans and sour cream clash HORRIBLY with tomato sauce, and once you get the jalapeno sauce in there, it’s going to have an overpowering taste that monkeys with the rest of the dish. Additionally, I would really, REALLY suggest springing for the jalapeno sauce, even if you aren’t a big fan of pepper sauce in general, since that’s basically our “secret ingredient” when it comes time to marinate the pasta noodles. And lastly, if you’re like me and a hippie, you can easily sub the bag of meatballs for a bag of meatless soy balls or something. But seriously, you still have to get a haircut, though. Really.

To get the project started, find two pots. If you’re a college student, that’s a lot harder to do then you think. Once said items are procured, boil the pasta noodles, and squeeze in a few drops of pepper sauce. It gives the noodles a very distinct taste that keeps them from clashing with the rest of the dish, so do it. Meanwhile, place the beans [with the can juice] in the other pot, add some water, and sprinkle in a dash of garlic powder and a smidge of red pepper. Stir both every two or so minutes - both dishes should be finished in about 10 to 12 minutes, so that gives you ample time to warm up the meatballs in the interim.

Drain the noodles and beans, and place the two in separate dishware. Break out the cheeses, Alfredo sauce, sour cream and meatballs, because its time to get this party started.

I suppose there’s really no wrong way to layer your Spa-Chili, although I’d recommend following this course of actions:

STEP ONE - Place noodles in bowl.
STEP TWO - Pour Alfredo Sauce over noodles.
STEP THREE - Pour beans over Alfredo Sauce.
STEP FOUR - Add meatballs to dish.
STEP FIVE - Add cheeses to bowl.
STEP SIX - Annex sour cream.
STEP SEVEN (optional) - For an added kick, squeeze a few more drops of pepper sauce on your dish. If you’re REALLY adventurous, try another pinch of garlic powder and red pepper, too.

Since we’re the User-Generated Generation, however, I’ve decided to include the following video, which shows you text-impaired cretins how to do the above via the magic of YouTube.

The ultimate question, I suppose, is whether or not the stuff was really any good. Granted, my concoction may not have been Rachel Ray quality or anything, but it was still - perhaps shockingly - palatable. The weird thing I noted about the dish was that, despite being comprised of equal proportions chili and spaghetti, the total creation really didn’t taste like either. Even now, I have a hard time grasping what the stuff tasted like: maybe more subdued Thai, or perhaps spicier macaroni and cheese? No matter what the stuff tasted like, I reckon the Franken-food was actually pretty damn tasty, and it might just become an annual tradition here at Compound The Internet Is In America.

And if Italy and Mexico meet up in the World Cup Finals in 2014? This ought to appease no matter which side of the table you’re serving.

Divertiti, Amigos Y Amigas!


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