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Zinfandel Spaghetti

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 08:10 PM - Posted by Megan - (6) comments

Pasta and wine go hand-in-hand, but pasta in wine? This I had to try.

Chef Michael Chiarello celebrates the flavors of the West Coast in his new cookbook, Bottega, named after his latest Napa Valley restaurant. In his Zinfandel Spaghetti recipe, strings of pasta are simmered in red wine before being paired with broccoli rabe. Chiarello’s wine-steeping technique is so simple, yet adds to the flavor complexity of the dish (a delicate balance of salty, sweet, bitter & hearty) and really lets the essence of Napa shine—plus the deep purplish-reddish hue that the drunken strands take on is so striking!

I won’t typically post another person’s recipe as-is, since I like to whip up my own, but after diving into this wine-laden pasta, I wanted to share the love. I added a dash more red pepper flakes than called for since I like some heat, but as it stands, this dish is perfectly balanced, refined and was a beauty on my table.

Tip: Be sure to pick up two bottles of vino—one for the pasta and the other for drinking with dinner. The spaghetti can’t have all the fun! Salute!

Zinfandel Spaghetti (makes 4 to 6 servings)

Recipe adapted from Michael Chiarello’s Bottega (Chronicle Books)

  • 1½ pounds rapini (broccoli rabe)
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine, preferably California Zinfandel
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP thinly sliced garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rapini and cook for 3 minutes or until just tender. Transfer the rapini to a baking sheet and let cool. In the same boiling water, cook the spaghetti, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. (The pasta will finish cooking in the Zinfandel.) Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta and set it aside. Return the empty pasta pot to the stove.

    2. Add the wine and sugar to the pasta pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until reduced by half, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the pasta and shake to prevent the pasta from sticking. Gently stir with tongs until coated and boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente, about 4 to 5 minutes.

    3. While the pasta cooks in the wine, heat a large, deep skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the garlic until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the rapini, red-pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water, or more if desired, and stir to combine.

    4. Add the rapini mixture to the pasta pot, toss gently and transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve.

    If anybody ventures to makes this Zinfandel Spaghetti, let me know what you think!

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    6 Responses to “Zinfandel Spaghetti”

    1. Thank you all for the kind comments, I truly appreciate the feedback!

    2. I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

    3. I made this and it was amazing! I think you can substitute broccolini for the broccoli rabe if rabe is too bitter for some. Yum!

    4. Hey, did you get the real thing at Bottega??

    5. Came over from Tastespotting. This looks delish!

    6. Your photo looks great! I made this dish last winter after catching a rerun of his Food Network Show where he made it. It was amazing and one of my favorite dishes ever. And coincidentally, I’m heading to Bottega tomorrow night for dinner, so I may have to try the real thing. :)

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