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Tallarin de Pollo

Serves 4-6 Prep 10 min Cook 35 min Ready 45 min

The taste of achiote in the tomato sauce gives this dish a unique flavor combination that you wouldn't expect when eating a pasta dish. While this sauce is tomato based, the achiote adds a smoky flavor that goes perfectly with the falling-off-the-bone chicken.

“Tallarin De Pollo” was inspired by one of my grandmother’s friends in Ecuador. She describes her friend’s version of the chicken spaghetti as one of the best pasta dishes she ever tasted. When she moved from Ecuador to Los Angeles, she didn’t have the exact recipe, but put this one together based on memory.


  • 1 large tomato

  • 1 white onion

  • 1 bell pepper

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 handful of cilantro

  • 1 ½ tablespoons of achiote

  • 1 can of tomato paste

  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs

  • abuelitas aliño

  • olive oil

  • 1 package of spaghetti

  • grated parmesan cheese


  1. First, make the refrito: Finely chop 1 onion, 1 tomato, 1 bell pepper and 2 garlic gloves.

  2. Add the onions with 2 teaspoons of olive oil to a deep pan or pot on medium heat first; then, a few minutes later add the pepper and tomato. Last add the garlic.

  3. Prep the chicken thighs by trimming off the excess fat. Season with abuelita's aliño + add to the pot once the refrito is throughly cooked.

  4. Cook the chicken for a few minutes on each side – enough to brown.

  5. Add the achiote, a can of tomato paste, cilantro and 2 cups of water to the pot. Cover and let simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.

  6. In a separate pot, cook the spaghetti or pasta of choice al dente according to the packaging instructions. Drain and add to chicken and tomato mixture. You may shred the chicken or leave whole on the bone for serving.

  7. Add grated Parmesan cheese as an optional topper.

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