Saturday, July 3, 2010

Recipe #40: Drunken Tuscan Pasta

This recipe is from Rachael Ray's book, Book of 10. I wanted to try something really hearty and different, and this didn't disappoint. I am still amazed at the idea of cooking pasta in wine...


  • 1 bottle Tuscan red table wine, such as Chianti (I used Pinot Noir because that's what I had at the time... and not the WHOLE bottle- I saved a glass for myself!!)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 pound dried long-cut pasta like spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 1/4lb deli-sliced pancetta (I used bacon instead because we don't like pancetta)
  • 3 portobello mushroom caps, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 4-5 cups chopped dark greens, choice of chard, escarole, spinach, or kale (I used spinach)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I used dried spice instead)
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a handful plus more for the table


Pour the entire bottle of wine into a large pot. Add water and fill the pot up as you would to cook pasta. Bring the wine and water to a boil over high heat. When the liquids boil, add salt and the pasta and cook to al dente. Heads up: You will ladle out some cooking liquid for the pasta sauce before draining the pasta.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons EVOO, then chop and add the pancetta (or bacon). Brown the pieces until they are golden at the edges and transfer them to a power-towel-lined plate. Add the mushrooms to the EVOO in the same skillet, season with the chopped rosemary, and cook until deeply golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Push the mushrooms to the sides of the pan and add the remaining tablespoon of EVOO to the center of the skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the EVOO and cook them for a minute or so, then toss the mushrooms together with the garlic. Add the greens to the pan and season them with sald, pepper, and the nutmeg. When the greens have wilted down, add a couple ladles of the pasta cooking liquid to the pan and cook for a minute to reduce.

Drain the pasta well and add it to the skillet. Add the pancetta/bacon and a handful of cheese to the pan. Toss the pasta for a minute or so to allow it to absorb the remaining liquid. Adjust the seasonings and serve with extra cheese.

NOTES: The pasta is very dark because it was cooked in red wine, and also because it was a whole grain pasta, which is darker to begin with... and healthier! Next time I'm going to use more bacon and less pasta.

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