February 19, 2011

Spaghetti Ubriachi (Drunken Spaghetti)

This is what I made for Valentines Day Dinner this year.

Spaghetti Ubriachi, or Drunken Spaghetti is a typical Tuscan dish that is made in Umbria when the new wine reaches the marketplace each year. It is a wonderful dish to look at as the pasta cooked in the red wine takes on a gorgeous ruby red color. T\e alcohol burns off during cooking leaving just a lovely hint of sweetness.

There are many small variations to this recipe, but they all include new red wine and an olive oil sauce flavoured with garlic and pancetta. The saltiness of the pancetta pairs well with the sweetness of the wine, but you can use bacon instead, or chopped anchovies if you prefer them (I don't!).

1 LB                 Spaghetti
4-5 Cups          Red Wine (an Italian Chianti is a nice choice)
6 Tablespoons  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3-4 Cloves       Garlic, peeled and minced
1 large              Shallot, chopped or thinly sliced
3/4 Cups          Pancetta, chopped
                        Parsley, fresh and chopped
                        Salt and Pepper to taste
                        Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta for 2 or 3 minutes.

While it is cooking add the wine to a second large pot and bring it to a boil.

Drain the pasta well and add it to the pot with red wine and continue to cook an additional 6 to 7 minutes or just until the pasta is "al dente".

While the pasta is cooking in the wine, in a frying pan, heat the oil and cook the pancetta until light brown and just beginning to crisp,

Add the garlic and shallot, stir well and remove from the heat. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. [You can add some additional red wine to deglaze the pan, and a splash of pasta cooking water BUT don’t add too much liquid. This isn’t meant to be a liquid sauce.] Put back onto the heat until the liquid simmers and thickens a bit.

Drain the pasta once more of whatever wine is left (most will have been absorbed by the pasta) and add the drained pasta to the pancetta and oil mixture.

Toss well and cook over the heat for a minute or so until it is well blended and hot.

Add the parsley. The pasta is delicious without grated cheese, but you can grate Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top if you like.

The combination of the dark red pasta, with the green parsley and grated white cheese is stunning, not to mention delicious!

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