Put A New Twist On Your Next Batch Of Bolognese With Taco Seasoning

chef pouring spice on meat
chef pouring spice on meat - Lisegagne/Getty Images

A creamy, hearty pot of Bolognese is a quintessential comfort food already bursting with warmth and flavor. But sometimes you crave a little more heat or want to surprise your tastebuds by adding an unexpected spice to your Bolognese. If that's the case, look no further than the smoky spices in a taco seasoning mix and your next pot of pasta Bolognese is in for an upgrade.

Taco seasoning includes warming spices like cumin and chili powder, aromatic spices like garlic and onion powder, paprika and cayenne for heat, dried oregano for earthiness, and, of course, salt and pepper. These ingredients are added to ground meat, onions, and other aromatics to create a tasty filling for tacos. But consider the makings of a Bolognese: ground meat cooked with tomatoes, onion, celery, and carrots. The bones of these two dishes are the same, but the taco seasoning adds a little flair to your Bolognese that is not to be missed.

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Adding Taco Seasoning To Bolognese

taco seasoning spices on plate
taco seasoning spices on plate - Carey Jaman/Shutterstock

You may have the ingredients in your spice cabinet to create a homemade taco seasoning mixture. But in a pinch, a store-bought bottle of taco seasoning or packaged taco seasoning from a pre-made taco kit works just fine. Just be aware that these pre-made packets often contain higher amounts of sodium, so you'll have to be mindful of how much salt you add. A 1-ounce packet of taco seasoning is sufficient, but feel free to use more if you really want to bring the heat.

You want to create a base layer of flavor right away, so try sprinkling the taco seasonings once your ground meat and sofrito hit the pan. If you're using homemade taco seasoning, start with 2 tablespoons for about a pound of ground meat. As the ground meat cooks, the taco seasoning will help brown the meat, giving it that smoky, fresh-off-the-grill savoriness.

If you choose to use a taco seasoning with brown sugar for sweetness, you'll caramelize each bit of ground meat too. Once you add in your tomatoes, a few pinches more of taco seasoning is certainly welcome. Let the Bolognese come to a boil and give it some time to simmer, then you can give the sauce a taste and assess what it needs.

How To Further Elevate Your Bolognese

tomatoes poured in bolognese sauce
tomatoes poured in bolognese sauce - Gmvozd/Getty Images

If you want to take your Bolognese a few steps further in the taco direction, try some substitutions for your toppings. Try swapping out the parmesan cheese for some Colby-jack, Cheddar, or a Mexican cheese blend. If you need to tone down the heat, add a dollop of sour cream, almost like you're topping a bowl of chili. Or how about garnishing with chopped cilantro instead of chopped parsley?

All of these extra toppings are a bonus, but you don't have to take it that far if you don't want to, as the taco seasoning already does a lot of the heavy lifting by adding a powerful punch of flavor. But just like when making traditional Bolognese, make sure to finish cooking your pasta in the Bolognese to coat every bite with the mouthwatering smoky flavors of the sauce. Once you try a batch of Bolognese with taco seasoning, you may get hooked enough to throw together some spaghetti tacos next. The pasta-taco mashup possibilities are endless.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.