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Spaghetti Cooked in Wine

Here’s a trendy new way to use red wine in the kitchen: boiling spaghetti in wine until it takes on a rich, deep fruity taste and a deep burgundy color.  This minimalistic dish gets so much flavor from the wine that it needs hardly any other ingredients.

Besides being a dish that is both interesting and simple, this is a great way to use that almost-full bottle of wine you have lingering in the back of the fridge–you know, the one that you poured one glass from and forgot about?  Don’t use a bottle of wine that’s gone so far it’s turned to vinegar, but something that’s been lingering in the fridge for a few days or even a week should be fine.

A rich red is what you want for this recipe, so try a Burgundy, Chianti, or even a Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.  No need to use expensive wine for this one–a table wine should do fine.  Here’s what to do:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Toss in spaghetti.
  • In the meantime, heat up some minced garlic or shallot with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.  As soon as the garlic begins to brown (be careful not to let it burn or it will become bitter), pour in 3/4 of a bottle of wine (or a little more than 2 cups).
  • As soon as the pasta begins to bend (i.e. about 5 minutes), drain and toss it directly into the simmering wine and garlic.  Cook until wine is absorbed and pasta is al dente.
  • Toss with salt, pepper, and if you like, red pepper flakes.
  • The final essential step: toss with enough butter to give the pasta a glazed look (about 1 tablespoon).
  • Serve immediately, with some good crusty bread.  If you like, garnish with chopped herbs.

We hope you enjoy this simple, easy recipe perfect for wine lovers!

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  1. Fred Zerke
    August 12th, 2010 at 20:28 | #1

    We had this dish at Ostera di Benci in Florence in 2005, 2006, and 2007. There they call it “Drunken Spagetti”. I don’t think they make it there with “an old bottle of zin that they drank one glass of, put in the refrig, and forgot about”-Hell Stepanie, who would do that with any good red?

  2. Stephanie Warren
    August 16th, 2010 at 13:47 | #2

    Hi Fred. You’re absolutely right–you definitely don’t need to use a bottle of wine that’s past its prime. And you certainly don’t want to use one that’s turned rotten. But cooking wine changes its chemical composition, so it’s not going to retain the integrity of its original flavor anyway. So you shouldn’t notice much of a difference if you use a bottle that’s a few days old. If you, for example, had a party and had some opened bottles left over, you might well find yourself in a situation where you have some wine hanging around that’s not great for drinking, but you don’t want to waste. You should also be able to use a more inexpensive wine than you’d normally drink. But try it with a nice red and see if you notice a big difference! We’d love to hear how your dish turned out!

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