I've long been mildly interested in the idea of cooking pasta in red wine, having seen it a couple times in various recipes, but before now I'd never tried it. Mostly, it just seemed like a waste of wine. But after a dinner party guest had bequeathed me a very, very mediocre bottle of Tempranillo that I'd been trying to finish (it wasn't going well), this recipe came across my path while I was searching for a broccoli recipe. So I figured it was worth a shot.
The recipe, from Gourmet, cooks the pasta for half the time in regular salted water, then finishes it absorption-style in the wine. The wine gives the spaghetti not only that crazy color, but also an interesting tang, something slightly acidic and, admittedly, pretty tasty. Though the broccoli was a straightforward affair with garlic and red pepper flakes (straightforward, but delicious), together with the pasta it ended up being a surprisingly elegant and off-beat dinner.
- 1 3/4 pounds broccoli
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Cut the broccoli into small florets, discarding any thick stems. Bring a large pot of salty water to boil and boil the florets for a couple minutes until halfway cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander, keeping the boiling water.
Add the pasta to the water and cook for 4-5 minutes, until about halfway cooked. Drain in a colander. Add the wine to the pot, along with the sugar, and bring to a boil. Add the pasta back to the pot, stirring well to avoid sticking. Cook, stirring with tongs, until the wine is absorbed and the pasta is al dente.
While the pasta is cooking in the wine, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is pale golden, then add the broccoli, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional minute.
Add the broccoli to the spaghetti along with most of the cheese. Toss well and divide into bowls. Serve with remaining cheese sprinkled on top.