Love and Olive Oil

Red-Wine Spaghetti with Broccoli

Red-Wine Spaghetti with Broccoli

It makes sense, you cook pasta in water, why can’t you cook it in other liquids? We’ve done risotto-style pasta before, and the pasta absorbs so much flavor from the broth, it seems silly to use plain water when there are so many flavor possibilities.

Like wine. Dark, robust red wine. By finishing off the pasta in a bottle of red wine, the pasta absorbs it completely and wholly, and gives the final pasta dish a distinct wine flavor you can actually taste. So long as you can get over the earthworm-like appearance of the final product (wouldn’t this make a fabulous April fool’s day or Halloween meal?).

While we thoroughly enjoyed this pasta dish and could appreciate its uniqueness, I don’t think it’ll be something we make often. Earthworms aside, I have a hard time pouring an entire bottle of wine into a vat of spaghetti. The pasta would benefit more from $10 worth of nice beef or seafood. We’re very stingy with our spaghetti investments. After all, one of the beautiful things about pasta is its price. Dirt cheap. Earthworm pasta is, ironically, not. Dirt. Worms. Get it? Oy.

Red-Wine Spaghetti with Broccoli

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1 3/4 lb broccoli, thick stems discarded
1 lb spaghetti
1 (750-ml) bottle red wine (preferably Zinfandel)
1 teaspoon sugar
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)


Cut broccoli into 1-inch-wide florets (with 1/2 inch of stem). Blanch in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water , uncovered, 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large colander to drain, reserving broccoli-cooking liquid in pot, then transfer broccoli to a bowl.

Return cooking liquid to a boil and cook spaghetti, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes (pasta will not be fully cooked). Drain in colander and return empty pot to stovetop. Add wine and sugar to pot and boil vigorously 2 minutes. Add spaghetti and shake pot to prevent pasta from sticking. Gently stir with tongs until coated and boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed, about 6 minutes (pasta will be al dente).

Immediately after adding spaghetti to wine mixture, cook garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, shaking skillet occasionally, until garlic is pale golden, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Increase heat to high and pour spaghetti mixture into skillet, tossing with tongs to combine (skillet will be very full). Cook, stirring, until all of wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve immediately.

Recipe from Epicurious.

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  1. This is absolutely worth the bottle of wine and the flavor depends on its quality. Go for it. Only one thing, I made half the amount of spaghetti but used the full amount of seasoning. Dee-licious.
    One of the absolute best pasta recipes – my family and friends adore it – I recommend it for everyone – remember the alcohol burns off so even the kids love it..

  2. This is totally worth the container of wine and the flavor relies upon its quality. Take the plunge. Just a single thing, I made a large portion of the measure of spaghetti yet utilized everything of flavoring. Dee-licious.

    One of the absolute best pasta recipes – my family and friends adore it – I recommend it for everyone – remember the alcohol burns off so even the kids love it..

  3. I am 100% trying this tonight with tortellini!!!! This looks amazing! I just found your site, can’t wait to look around!

  4. My sister was actually the person who taught me about red-wine spaghetti and I’ve done it twice now… both have been relatively successful. But seeing the contrast of the green here is really outstanding. Will have to give this a try.

  5. I love a similar recipe in David Rocco’s Dolce Vita cookbook for Drunken Spaghetti. You should try putting a little chopped up anchovy or some anchovy paste in with the garlic when you saute it with the peppers. It adds a lovely rich taste. Great blog!

  6. I found you through your distressed wood DIY..prop backdrop… I’ve gotten pretty upset about spending money on these backdrops at camera shops.. and I really want to make my own.. do you think this will work with other colors?

  7. Wine? Pasta? Broccoli? I’m sold!

  8. The idea of cooking pasta in something else put plain water and salt never came up in my mind.. Though we all know pasta soaks up some of the water.. So it will also soak up something else! A great idea, I definitely am going to have to give this a try. Interesting..

  9. Wow this looks amazing…. but I think that with mushrooms the taste might come out better. red wine – pasta – garlic and mushrooms!! YUMMMMMM. am definitely going to give this a try and post it (mentioning u of course!). keep on the good cooking…

  10. I loved this! I made a few variations but it was wonderful!

  11. I too have used meat and vegetable broths to boil noodles, rice, quinoa, and beans. I love the flavor. I will now experiment with wine. Great idea.

  12. I’ve always wanted to try red wine pasta, but my hesitation is the same as yours — dumping an entire bottle of perfectly good wine into a pasta pot, only for it to be drained out later. While I think it sounds (and even looks) delicious, I just don’t know if I could do it.

  13. beautiful photo and recipe. I have to follow your blog..!

  14. This looks fabulous! Had something similar in Italy. Great!

  15. I have to admit I don’t know if I could do it! Watch all that delicious wine go down the drain?? :(

  16. It’s funny. I do all types of grain in broth or broth water mixtures, but doing pasta in wine has never occurred to me. I wonder if this is how they do squid ink pasta.

  17. Isn’t it some of the most obvious things that nobody seems to think about? Well thank god you tried this out. I will have to find some things to experiment with because I do understand that dumping a bottle of wine into spaghetti seems like it should be a crime!

  18. I can understand not wanting to pour $10 into a pot of spaghetti, but that color is certainly magnificent, and this does look delicious.

  19. I’ve made Michael Chiarello’s version of this before and really enjoyed it. He uses broccoli rabe, which I love, so that could be part of it. The bitter, peppery taste really plays off the wine. I usually use a cheap bottle of Trader Joe’s zinfandel – it has Moon in the name, and it’s $5/bottle. It works perfectly.

  20. Oh this looks so delicious!!

  21. I’ve had this before and really love it…but true…who wants to pour wine instead od drinking it!? Love the recipe!

  22. have you heard of Stumble! site? That is how I stumbled over your site and I instantly fell in love with your food blog: wonderful details on each food or incredibly beautiful photos! I added your blog to my blog typistlists: Food Lovers! I hope that you do not mind. And also, I saw one of your cakes: the rainbow cake! I have to try this soon!

    Thank you for sharing this and have a ALOHA day!

  23. Looks delicious!

  24. Nice! I have never thought to cook spaghetti in red wine- but anything soaked in booze is A-OK with me!

  25. Red Wine pasta?!! i LIKE it. :)

  26. Great picture! I have never tried the red wine pasta thing for exactly that reason – price! What I’m wondering is if you could use wine that has sat on the counter too long and is not at its prime. Or wold the pasta then not be prime either? I may not try that but I will definitely start trying different flavorings in the pasta water.

  27. This makes so much sense! I always cook rice and grains in other liquids… so why didn’t I think to do the same with pasta?! Great tip, I’ll have to try it out.

  28. I love this idea, so creative! I can definitely look past the worm-type appearance. This sounds delicious. :)

  29. I love how these noodles look after being cooked in wine! The color is fabulous! I’m sure the flavor was amazing too :)

  30. Could you do it with whiskey?

    Just kidding! Wine I think is the right idea. ;)

  31. I have a bug phobia. Regardless, idea of wine infused pasta is intriguing.

  32. this is absolutely beautiful!!

  33. I think this is a fantastic idea– and a great way to use red wine slightly past its due date! The color doesn’t bother me (I loooove squid-ink pasta, which is really gross looking), and I hate it when we watch half a bottle go bad after several unexpectedly busy nights out. I usually use that for tomato sauce, but next time I’ll use it to boil pasta!

  34. Wow, I never thought about doing that before. I put wine (and beer and other alcohol) into other things I cook, but never tried it with the actual pasta. I’ve definitely cooked with broth, etc. but usually when it’s going to be absorbed as with risotto and quinoa.

  35. I’m with you–not only does it not look wonderfully appetizing, I wouldn’t want to waste wine that way!

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