Red Wine Spaghetti


I find it interesting that acquired tastes, like beer and wine, can eventually be used in one’s diet to flavor foods that never needed any getting used to…like pasta!  I mean, without the alcohol would anyone work to appreciate and prefer drinks with hoppy, bitter punches to them? If the side effects simply followed in line with those of plants and fruits containing vitamins and antioxidants and such, would we enjoy beer and wine like we currently do? Now that I think about it, I bet we would. Not in the same way, but we would like them. I like brie and blue cheeses and they don’t give me a buzz or make me tipsy, but they are quite the acquired taste! It’s just sad to think that I tasted the Malbec (my dry wine of choice for this dish), but didn’t enjoy it in the same way I do when I drink it. And, since I didn’t realize how much wine this recipe calls for, I didn’t even have any extra to drink alongside my Malbec noodles. Sad as sad can be, I must say. (That’s for you, ma!)

Well, not so sad. It’s sad that I was without red wine to drink with my red wine spaghetti, but the pasta itself was far from sad! WARNING: if you do not like the taste of wine, you will not like this recipe. Maybe that’s obvious, but I thought I would share in case it isn’t.

You can definitely taste the wine, so choose one that you like. In fact while reading the article Cooking with wine on, Karen MacNeil advises to only cook with wines you would drink. AND, this is interesting since I brought up this popular misconception above, Karen writes that alcohol does remain even after added to boiling water. The longer you boil, the less alcohol remains. So potentially around 40% of my let’s say 14% wine is left to consume in the final product. You probably won’t/don’t get drunk eating foods you cooked in wine, but… you could try!

The recipe calls for a dry wine. I looked up a list of dry wines on my smartphone while at the supermarket and was pleasantly surprised to see that Malbec was an option. This is one of my favorites. After a quick search on Google I found my list at You can check this out and search dry red wine.

So, what is a dry wine you may ask? I found a pretty straightforward answer at Basically, dry wine is the opposite of sweet wine. The dryness connotes longer fermentation. Since fermentation is the process in which sugar is converted to alcohol, dry wines (generally red wines) have a higher alcohol content than sweet wines (white wines). If you are at all curious, I suggest skimming through this website. There’s info on the fermentation process and different types of wines, etc. Seems like the people that write these articles have experience in the industry!

So a few notes about the recipe. It calls for 4 1/4 cups of wine, but that’s a lot! I used a bottle and made up for the rest with water. Also, in the instructions it mentions parsley but it’s not in the ingredient list. I would just use as much as you like. I’m not a big parsley fan so I added just a little.

Red Wine Spaghetti:


4 1/4 cups dry red wine
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
13.25 oz whole wheat spaghetti
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper


In a large pot, combine 4 cups red wine, water and salt. Bring to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook, till al dente, according to instructions on box. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1/4 cup red wine and reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer.

Carefully stir in the pasta, and cook until liquid has absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley, nuts, the 1/2 cup of cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and toss. Season the pasta with salt & pepper and serve, passing grated cheese at the table.


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