Fare With a Flair: Pasta worth wine-ing about

I’ve always been a big fan of pasta and love the wide-ranging possibilities of sauces you can pair with it and the endless shapes and sizes.  It’s also usually a very quick meal to put together.

Pasta cooked in red wine is a great way to use up leftover wine. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press)

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I’ve always been a big fan of pasta and love the wide-ranging possibilities of sauces you can pair with it and the endless shapes and sizes.  It’s also usually a very quick meal to put together.

I won’t forget the first time I tried spaghetti cooked in red wine.  The resulting noodles were a deep crimson colour and absolutely delicious.

This week, I’ve taken that idea and added some crispy pancetta and a sprinkling of Romano,  a salty, hard Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk.

The pasta gets partially cooked in water before being tossed into the pan of reduced wine to finish cooking. Use a dry Italian red for this dish, which is a great recipe if you have some leftover red wine.

This unusual dish is sure to get the attention of your dinner guests.


Pasta Cooked in Red Wine

(Serves 4 – 6)

6 thin slices pancetta, diced

1 tbsp. (15 ml) butter

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp.  (25 ml) chopped fresh sage

1 lb. (500 g) long pasta such as spaghetti

1 750 ml. bottle of dry red Italian wine

Freshly cracked pepper

1/3 cup grated Romano cheese

1. Heat a large saute pan or wok over medium-high heat.  Cook pancetta until crispy.  Remove half of it with slotted spoon and place on paper towel-lined plate.

2. Add  butter and olive oil to pan along with sage. Cook further two minutes.

3. Add wine to pan and bring to boil. Reduce by half.

4. While wine simmers, cook pasta in large pot of salted boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain well and add to pan with wine.

5. Continue to cook, tossing and stirring until wine has been absorbed by pasta and pasta is just al dente. (If the wine is absorbed before pasta is cooked, add a bit of water to pan and cook until pasta is al dente). Season with freshly cracked pepper and additional salt if needed

6. Transfer to warmed pasta bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and reserved pancetta and sprig of sage.

7. Serve immediately.

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