David Tanis writes a column in the Wednesday food section of the New York Times called City Kitchen. On March 8th this recipe caught both my husband’s and my eye, Red Wine Spaghetti with Pancetta. Mr. Tanis’ recipe was very intriguing due to the fact that it was made with a whole bottle of dry red wine, a Merlot, Pinot Noir or Chianti. I happened to have a bottle of Merlot on hand perfect!
.Other than the red wine, I needed a one pound box of spaghetti; I happen to love Lidia’s (Bastianich) spaghetti that I can get in Shop-Rite. The main ingredients for the pasta sauce are extra virgin olive oil, tomato paste and a bay leaf (my bay leaf survived in my garden this winter). From Delicious Orchards I purchased a red onion and fresh garlic. This recipe has a prep time of 30 minutes, which is great for busy families.
I was a bit confused by the first direction in the recipe where it said, “Put a large pot of well-salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup wine and turn heat to low.” Unless it’s me, why not say add one cup of wine to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. After it boils, salt well. It wasn’t until I read some of the notes submitted by readers that the intent was to place the wine in the pasta water. I didn’t, but it turned out fine.
The pasta sauce consists of sautéed pancetta (or bacon, which is held aside until the end), red onion, garlic, red pepper flanks and tomato paste. To start the sauce you first need to blanch the pancetta, then sauté in EVOO. Once the pancetta is sautéed, you sauté your red onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and tomato pasta. Once done, you then add a bottle of red wine, minus the 1 cup that’s in your pasta water. The sauce needs to reduce rapidly for 10 minutes. To finish the dish, you take your almost done pasta and add that to the sauce to finish cooking. At the end, add in your pancetta, 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and either Pecorino or Parmesan cheese.
The pasta was scrumptious! It had the flavor of the wine, but didn’t overwhelm. It was light in taste and pasta al dente. Although the sauce is made in a large skillet to which the pasta was to be added, I instead drained my pasta, placed it back in my 8 quart pot and added the sauce to that. It allowed sufficient space to finish cooking. This recipe is a keeper
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.