This red wine pasta sauce (spaghetti all'ubriaco) is aromatic and rich and a definite must-try for any wine lover. It's also the perfect Valentine's day pasta to surprise your loved one!
On a list of unusual pasta recipes, this red wine pasta sauce (spaghetti all'ubriaco) would score pretty high. The sauce is basically pure red wine, after all!
But don't be fooled by the name or looks of this authentic Italian spaghetti sauce with red wine.
Even though it's deceptively simple to make, this pasta dish is something that you'll find yourself slurping straight from the pan as soon as it's ready. Yes, it's that good!
Called "spaghetti all'ubriaco" in Italian, which loosely translates as "drunken pasta", this is a very adult pasta dish that's perfect for date night or just on those days when a glass of wine alone won't cut it.
Why you'll love this red wine pasta sauce
- It's elegant and full of flavour. Not only does this pasta dish looks super elegant, but it's also full of robust flavours.
- It's ready in 15 minutes. The sauce is so easy to make, you only need 15 minutes from start to finish to have a bowl of delicious wine pasta on the table. This is basically the time it takes to bring the water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente while prepping your ingredients and making the sauce.
- You can easily make it vegan. All you have to do is skip the Pecorino or use a vegan Parmesan, and you'll have the perfect vegan Valentine's pasta!
What goes into spaghetti all'ubriaco?
Spaghetti — I use 250 g (8 oz) spaghetti for this drunken pasta, and even though it looks like a lot for two people, trust me, it isn't. The sauce is so good, you'll find yourself slurping the pasta with utter abandon, so you may even want to try a double batch.
Olive oil — Use the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can for this sauce because it really makes a difference in flavour.
Garlic — Only use fresh garlic for this pasta dish — chop it finely with a sharp knife instead of crusting it.
Red chilli flakes — Half a teaspoon of red chilli flakes will give the sauce a bit of a kick. Feel free to adjust the quantity to your liking.
Fresh rosemary — This is optional, but I love how fresh rosemary ties the flavours together in this sauce. You can also use fresh thyme.
Red wine — You don't need to waste a bottle of expensive wine for this sauce, but it's still important to use one that you'd enjoy drinking.
The best red wine for pasta sauce you can use here include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir or Chianti. Always go for a bold, dry wine for this recipe.
Pecorino Romano — Drunken spaghetti actually taste great without any cheese, which technically makes the dish vegan.
However, freshly grated Pecorino makes the sauce creamy and tangy, and the combination of flavours is simply amazing.
You can also substitute it with grated Parmesan or another type of hard Italian cheese.
How to make red wine pasta sauce
Cook the spaghetti in salted water until almost al dente, which is about 2 minutes less than the instructions on the package. The spaghetti will continue to cook in the sauce. Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.
Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Keep an eye on the heat so the garlic doesn't brown. Pour the red wine and wait for it to bubble.
Once the liquid simmers, transfer the cooked pasta to the pan and toss well until the spaghetti change their colour to dark red. Add a dash of pasta water if it looks like there's not enough liquid in the pan.
Keep cooking the pasta, tossing often, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Stir in the Pecorino, season to taste, and serve immediately, garnished with chopped fresh parsley, if you like.
Recipe notes and tips
- Drunken spaghetti are best served immediately, and I don't recommend reheating them.
- Serve spaghetti all'ubriaco with a glass of the same red you used to make the sauce.
- Grate some extra Pecorino on individual bowls right before serving.
- Don't worry about getting drunk on this red wine pasta sauce — it's quite impossible even to get tipsy. Since the boiling point of alcohol is just 78 degrees Celsius, most of it will cook off anyway. What's left is not enough to get you drunk, but still, drunken pasta isn't something I'd serve to children or pregnant women.
- To make this red wine pasta sauce vegan, simply skip the Pecorino and make sure you use a vegan wine. When in doubt, check your wine on Barnivore.
If you liked this red wine pasta sauce, you might also like some of my other easy pasta recipes:
- Bucatini Cacio e Pepe
- Pasta alla Boscaiola (Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta)
- Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Walnuts
- Creamy Mushroom Marsala Pasta
- Pasta alla Cenere (Gorgonzola and Black Olive Pasta)
- Cook the spaghetti in salted water until almost al dente, which is about 2 minutes less than the instructions on the package. The spaghetti will continue to cook in the sauce. Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the garlic, red chilli flakes and fresh rosemary. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Keep an eye on the heat, so the garlic doesn’t brown.
- Pour the red wine and wait for it to bubble. Once the liquid simmers, transfer the cooked pasta to the pan and toss well until the spaghetti change their colour to dark red. Add a dash of pasta water if it looks like there’s not enough liquid in the pan.
- Keep cooking the pasta, tossing often, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Stir in the Pecorino, season to taste, and serve immediately, garnished with chopped fresh parsley, if you like.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 603Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 526mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 15g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.