So what do you do if you’re having someone over for dinner, and you want to seem like you’re a good cook (and you are!), but it’s a weeknight and you’re tired and don’t have a lot of time. And really, you’d just cook yourself pasta, probably, on a night like this, and eat it plain, but no, someone is coming over, so you can’t do that. But you can. You just have to fancy it up a little, by which I mean cooking it in the red wine you’ve had sitting around for weeks, possibly, with you knowing — just knowing — that you’d eventually get the chance to use it.
Well here’s your chance: to use up your red wine, to hopefully impress your dinner partner, and to get away with just cooking pasta (well, and fancied up grilled chicken and salad, but that’s for another week). Try not to overcook your pasta like I did (it’s a little easier to overcook with this method), and you may actually get away with it.
If you want to fancy it up a little more, like I did in the photo above, you can sauté: one sliced onion, one sliced fennel bulb, and one sausage (chicken-feta in this case) also sliced up (it’s faster to cook that way, and caramelizes a bit). That, however, is what I did with the leftover pasta, just for me. On its starring night, with an audience, the pasta was just pasta, beautifully infused with red wine, and only one step more difficult than just making pasta in boiling water.
– 1 lb. bucatini or spaghetti
– 3 cups leftover red wine (just not vinegar yet)
– a couple of garlic cloves, minced
– 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and roughly chopped (these are important for depth of flavor, but no, you won’t notice them or a fishy taste)
– olive oil
– salt and freshly ground pepper
– zest of ½ lemon + juice
– freshly grated pecorino romano, Parmesan, or ricotta salata
– handful coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
2. Meanwhile, make “sauce”: In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add anchovy and garlic, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; carefully pour in wine and a generous pinch of a salt.
3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes, just until the ends fold into the pot. Drain (don’t rinse) and put back in pot. Add the wine “sauce” to the pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring gently and regularly, until wine is just absorbed (if you are going to let it sit for a few minutes before eating, you may not want the wine to even be entirely absorbed). Adjust seasonings to taste.
4. Serve pasta. Squeeze lemon juice over and sprinkle with lemon zest and cheese. Add some freshly ground pepper. Maybe sprinkle parsley over, if you remember. Ta-da.