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Boiling Dried Pasta in Red Wine

Pasta Red Wine

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#1 SeanMike

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 01:01 PM

One of my most common dishes to make at home is a simple pasta with red sauce, adding lots of peppers, onions, and a combination of sweet and hot Italian sausage to it. It's cheap, it makes usually at least three hearty meals, and it typically comes out pretty delicious (to me, as I'm the only one I'm cooking for).

I'd planned on making that during the hurricane, failed to do so, and decided to make it Friday night. During the day, however, I saw this link from Food and Wine magazine:

http://www.foodandwi...uts-and-parsley

Now, I don't keep a lot of wine in the house, because I tend to drink it. I did have two bottles of Pira Dolcetto D'Alba 2010 that Mary at Ace had recommended to me, so I opened one up. I didn't want to use the whole bottle like in the recipe, so I simply used some of it in the boiling water, and (like usual) added some to the sauce.

HOLY CRAP

That's the only real change I made from my usual "recipe". It was fantastic! I couldn't stop eating it! I just ate some leftovers of it and I'm still like "WOW THIS IS GOOD!"

I don't know if it's the wine that made the difference, maybe it's because it's been so long since I actually cooked something other than ramen for myself, but man oh man this is the best pasta a la SeanMike I've ever made. It's freaking fantastic. I'm full right now and it's all I can do to hold myself back from nuking the rest of the leftovers and destroying it.

Has anyone else cooked their dried pasta in red wine? What did you think? If I went up to using the full 3 cups (like the recipe suggests) is it going to be amazing, or will I regret using that much wine? I wonder if vermouth would work too...

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#2 thistle

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 03:37 PM

I will take your word for it, & maybe I like my alcohol too much, but I can't see adding it to the pasta water- but I understand adding it to the sauce...

#3 lperry

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 04:24 PM

I'm wondering if it would be a good use for the remains of a bottle.

#4 Pat

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:44 PM

I'm wondering if it would be a good use for the remains of a bottle.


That's an interesting idea. I've seen recipes for cooking pasta in red wine before but always shied away, thinking I don't want my spaghetti to turn purple. On the other hand, if it's going under tomato sauce anyway...

Here's a recipe for this style dish that I thought looked interesting but haven't tried: http://www.foodnetwo...cipe/index.html

I have to say I'm with Sean Mike on the reluctance to use an entire bottle for one dish, which is why the using the remnants idea intrigues me. The only time I've ever used a whole bottle in a recipe was for a Mimmetta Lomonte risotto recipe and, oh, wow, too much wine.

#5 DonRocks

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:54 PM

Has anyone else cooked their dried pasta in red wine? What did you think? If I went up to using the full 3 cups (like the recipe suggests) is it going to be amazing, or will I regret using that much wine? I wonder if vermouth would work too...


Not knowing anything about either 1) this recipe or 2) how to cook, I'd say you struck exactly the right balance with your last attempt, and there's no need to use a "more is more" attitude unless you're prepared to be disappointed. That's just a guess, of course, but I'm a firm believer in "balance is everything."

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#6 lperry

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:08 PM

OK, I took one for the team and dumped about 3/4 cup of leftover red wine (in the fridge a while, but vino-vacked) (vaced? vacced?) into the water for the spaghetti I cooked tonight. This was dinner for one, so maybe four cups liquid total, with a bit of romesco sauce I had left in the fridge. The wine does impart flavor, but, perhaps, because I used romesco, which is strongly flavored, I didn't have a "HOLY CRAP" experience. There was, however, a depth of flavor there that was not there before. I tried the spaghetti plain and could taste the wine - it is a pleasant flavor with the pasta. I think it does the same thing that, for example, the wine does in a risotto. If you leave it out, you know something is missing. If you put it in, all is excellent.

#7 DonRocks

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:52 AM

This has turned out to be an interesting, ongoing thread. I like the spontaneity of it!

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#8 TheMatt

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 07:42 AM

This has turned out to be an interesting, ongoing thread. I like the spontaneity of it!


Now, as a scientist, I say we must kill the spontaneity! We must try varying amounts of wine, various types of wine (red, rose, white, sparkling), &c.

Actually, this sounds like a perfect experiment for the Cook's Illustrated folks...

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#9 lperry

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 09:28 AM

Now, as a scientist, I say we must kill the spontaneity! We must try varying amounts of wine, various types of wine (red, rose, white, sparkling), &c.


Uh oh. Am I going to get kicked out of the club for being spontaneous? I was only trying to clean out the fridge, and I did measure. Sort of.

#10 Anna Blume

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:26 AM

I'm guessing the idea stems from the use of red wine to make a classic risotto, a dish that won Abra Bennett (formerly of egullet) a contest at Food52. Cooking pasta as if it were risotto has become popular, too. FWIW, the science guru, Harold McGee swears by cooking pasta in less than the customary amount of liquid.

#11 TheMatt

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:59 AM

The next science experiment: what about cooking pasta in red wine in...The PastaBoat™

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#12 lperry

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 07:54 PM

No pasta boat, but dinner for one again, and pasta again because it's 1. easy and 2. hot. Penne boiled in water that was about 1/4 red wine, mixed with a diced, roasted beet and some crumbled, herbed goat's cheese. Really good and flavorful for "fast" food. I think I found my new favorite way to use up leftover red wine.

#13 DonRocks

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:02 PM

The next science experiment: what about cooking pasta in red wine in...The PastaBoat™


Deluxe (Male) Freshman Gift Kit


1. Subscription to Playboy

2. The PastaBoat


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#14 thetrain

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 10:40 PM

No pasta boat, but dinner for one again, and pasta again because it's 1. easy and 2. hot. Penne boiled in water that was about 1/4 red wine, mixed with a diced, roasted beet and some crumbled, herbed goat's cheese. Really good and flavorful for "fast" food. I think I found my new favorite way to use up leftover red wine.


I used a similar ratio tonight - 3 parts water and 1 part wine (left over) with fettuccine, oregano, parm, pepper and butter. Not a huge flavor difference, but noticeable and enjoyable. Definitely will repeat, especially bc its super easy and a good use for leftover red wine. I'll up the ratio if supplies allow next time.

#15 Seanchai

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 04:51 AM

Please explain to me this concept of leftover red wine. It confuses me; have I been doing it wrong all these years?

#16 lovehockey

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:14 PM

This is intriguing, and I must also offer thanks for the link to Food and Wine because now I'm exploring the website for new recipes to try. But the link you provide, SeanMike, has a tag of "Using mediocre wine for cooking." I'm curious as to the definition of "mediocre wine." Would it just be something I buy but find out I don't like, or could I get away with going to the grocery store and buying whatever is on sale for, let's say, $5? Because if it's the latter whatever I didn't put in a pot of pasta would probably be a slightly decent addition to an afternoon of ironing and football (iron a shirt, sip some wine, repeat until the ironing is done).

#17 SeanMike

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:13 AM

lovehockey, I took it as "wine you don't mind drinking, but didn't spend very much on".

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#18 giant shrimp

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:23 PM

The first time I heard of this was in the New York Times several years ago from Mark Bittman:

http://www.nytimes.c...y-splendid.html

He was recreating a dish he had discovered at a midtown Manhattan restaurant -- Osteria del Circo.

You are required to sacrifice an entire bottle of wine -- Chianti Classico -- and it only works with spaghetti.

It did sound intriguing, but I never got around to attempting it. And I later recall reading something from Bittman about this particular column not going over so well, so maybe there are some problems with it, or people just think it sounds weird. However, he raved about what he had eaten from chef Alessandro Giuntoli.

#19 DaveO

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:16 AM

Tried this this past weekend. Used "cooking wine". Used it in the sauce and in the boiling water. The sauce was pretty good, must say so myself. tomatoes, sauce, onions, garlic, heavily seasoned with oregano, some cooking wine, pepper, pureed carrots and celery and a meat base.

About 1/4 cooking wine to 3/4 water. It was good. but i'm not sure...could have been the wine in the sauce, possibly the wine used in boiling the water or the wine drunk while eating the pasta. The last part usually does the trick. There are leftovers, and the leftovers usually tell the tale for this pasta sauce/stewish type meal. To be continued.

#20 DaveO

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:52 AM

I worked on the left overs last night. Made fresh pasta in wine/water. Still didn't get a great "rush" of extra taste. But these recipes intrigue me, being a pasta "nut". From the latter two posted recipes it looks as if to get the full blast and flavor of the wine, one has to reduce the water and the last "boil" should be virtually all wine. I also suspect per those recipes if the pasta/spaghetti really absorbs the wine flavors its best set off with something different than tomato or red sauce. I'm thinking greens, garlic and oil though the variations could be endless.

I'm on a mission to figure this out.





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