"Spicy, meaty and with just the right amount of beans, it's a terrific chili". I made this after watching Al Roker make it on his morning show. My family prefers the more tradional mild ground beef and beans type of chili but I needed a change. It is spicy, but I personally did not find this too spicy. If you are not overpowered by hot italian sausage that has simmered away, then you should be fine. This is the first chili I have eaten more than 1 bowl of. The first I have made using a diced meat. I made this using 45oz. kidney beans per family preference. Simmered an additional 45 minutes before adding the beans. I did find that it took a lot more time than 15 minutes to thicken. Possibly due to the rain here? Much thicker and better on day 2! If it were not for my partners "delicate" palate, I would up the heat a bit. Cooking times were provided by the recipe with the 45 minutes being active cooking time.