Dinner Tonight: Zinfandel Spaghetti with Spicy Rapini

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

It's no secret that wine and pasta are a natural pair, but this recipe from Michael Chiarello's Bottega marks the first time I've cooked pasta with a whole bottle of wine. The pasta is first partly cooked in boiling water, before being drained and finished off in some Zinfandel. As you can tell from the photo, the result is particularly dramatic.

Each strand is dyed a gorgeous ruby red. The flavor isn't quite as shocking as it looks, but it has a pleasing earthiness that pairs well with the rapini.

The rapini is also blanched first and then spread out on a baking sheet to cool. Later on it's sautéed with garlic and red pepper flakes, which explains the "spicy" label in the recipe title.

The best part? This vivid and colorful dish isn't nearly as difficult to prepare as it looks. Whether or not you decide to share that information with your dining companions is up to you.

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