Sure, sure, you’ve cooked with red wine before. A splish-splash here, a half a cup there. We’ve all done it. But have you ever made pasta using two entire bottles of red wine?! I didn’t think so. I have. And I think you’re gonna wanna give it a shot.
I had the pleasure of making one seriously delicious wine-stained pasta during a visit to Montreal’s very beloved coffee-pizza-wine joint Elena last winter, right about the time they put it back on the menu. People have gone so crazy for it, it’s become a mainstay. I mean, it makes sense: A wine-centric restaurant known for their wine soaked pasta—what could be more symbiotic than that?
But let me assure you, this isn’t a gimmick. And it definitely doesn’t taste like eating a bowl of Chianti. It’s actually one of those low-commitment, high-reward kind of dishes that uses a legit technique you’ll want in your back pocket. And out of the goodness of my heart, I’m here to let you in how it’s done.
Two whole bottles of GOOD red wine get cooked down with garlic and red pepper flakes for about 25 minutes. (Make sure the wine is something you like the taste of. Steer clear of the nasty un-drinkable stuff when you’re using it in this quantity.) The concentrated reduction will have gotten rid of any harsh alcoholic bite, but there will still be a “wine-y,” tannic flavor there. That’s when two whole sticks of (cold!) butter get whisked in, resulting in a smooth, thick mahogany-hued sauce that’s at once bright and acidic and creamy and round. Then, par-cooked spaghetti gets added to the pot and continues to cook while getting tossed tossed tossed, absorbing both the flavor and the deep crimson color of the sauce. Finally, a generous flurry of parmesan cheese tops it all off, because who wants pasta without cheese?
Yeah, pretty easy.
But if the thought of dumping two whole bottles of perfectly drinkable red wine still gives you pause, consider that this dish feeds eight (or more) people and uses two pounds of spaghetti. That means everyone’s really only consuming one glass of wine. You wouldn’t offer your guests anything less with dinner anyway, would you?
Get the recipe:
Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit