Red Wine Spaghetti is a rich, wine-flavored pasta dish that’s tossed with butter and parmesan to create a creamy red wine sauce and topped with luxurious pine nuts. This recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner that feels special, or a romantic date night at home!
Kelly, can you handle this? …Michelle, can you handle this?… Beyoncé, can you handle this?
I don’t think they can handle this! …[name that song!]…
It’s playing in my head because this is the kind of recipe that you must ask: are you ready for it?! It’s one of the most unique and epically delicious vegetarian pasta recipes we have here. It’s ready in just 15 minutes and uses simple ingredients (fewer than 10!).
It’s the perfect recipe to make for dinner when you need to unwind. Turn up the music, and have a kitchen dance party featuring a glass of your favorite red wine. Yes, you finally can have your wine and eat it, too *wink*.
One of my favorite restaurants in Minneapolis, Bar La Grassa, is the inspiration for this recipe. I’m usually partial to ordering their Gnocchi with Cauliflower and Orange because it’s honestly the best thing ever. Go there, try it, and get the Red Wine Spaghetti, too.
Anyway, lucky for me, one fateful day I was dining with a large group, so of course, sharing plates of pasta was the only option. While “Red Wine Spaghetti” seemed, by name, the least interesting, oh my friend it was anything but!
I was sold! It was decadent and rich and it tasted like my favorite red wine! So, I knew that I immediately needed to recreate it at home. That way, I could have it whenever the craving struck (which is often, if I’m being honest…you have been warned).
Did you know that this drunken pasta is called “spaghetti all’ubriaco” in Italian?
What You’ll Need
There’s a pretty good chance you have almost, if not all, of the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe in your kitchen already! There are a few you might not have though, and I’ve included substitutions as available if you need to make it ASAP! As always, be sure to see the full recipe card below.
- Red Wine
- Olive Oil: high-quality olive oil is best since we have so few ingredients, the ones we use will shine!
- Garlic: lots of garlic in this pasta! I like slicing it for this recipe because the magic of biting into a perfectly tender piece of garlic that melts in your mouth, paired with red wine is *chef’s kiss*! Not into it? Finely mince or press the garlic to infuse throughout the sauce.
- Red Pepper Flakes: they add a lovely kick, but are optional if you prefer less spice.
- Butter: melted into the pasta towards the end to create a luxuriously creamy texture.
- Parmesan Cheese: use grated parmesan for best results. It gets melted into the cheese and the fineness melts nicely.
- Pine Nuts: luxuriously buttery in texture, these little nuts have a mild and sweet flavor. They are spendy, however, so feel free to substitute with chopped walnuts instead.
- Basil: a pop of fresh basil as a garnish is one of my favorite ways to use the herb. That being said, it’s not always the most cost-effective or in-season, so use chopped fresh parsley in its place if making a sub.
What kind of wine should I use?
The choice of wine is very important, considering it’s the main flavor profile of this pasta recipe. And because of that, the best answer is a red wine you like to drink, but that isn’t too expensive.
I do highly recommend a bold, full-bodied red wine. As I said, the flavor of the wine is what makes this pasta, so the bolder the wine, the more flavor the pasta will have. I’ve noticed that a lighter red wine, like pinot noir, doesn’t leave as much of a rich, deep wine flavor to the pasta (but if that’s what you want, I won’t stop you!).
Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot are my favorite go-to’s.
How to Make Creamy Red Wine Pasta
It’s an easy, two-step process. To avoid extra sticky pasta, we’re first par-boiling the noodles and finishing them in the red wine-turned sauce.
Par-Boil the Noodles
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti noodles several minutes shy of al dente. Check the package directions as this can vary by brand.
The noodles should be bendy, but not overly flexible. If bitten into, they should still be hard inside.
While they get to this point, proceed with the sauce so that by the time they’re ready, so is the red wine.
Red Wine Sauce
As most, ok all, good pasta recipes start off, this one does too: with the garlic.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. You want the pan to be large enough to hold all of the pasta. Then, add the garlic and saute for a minute or two. I like to add a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes here, too.
Then, pour in the VIP ingredient: red wine! Bring it to a boil, and by the time it gets there, the pasta should be ready. Add the less-than-al-dente noodles to the simmering wine. The pasta will likely not be entirely submerged in the red wine like it was in the water.
That’s ok, just be sure to stir and toss it frequently so that it cooks evenly. If the pasta seems to be absorbing the red wine quickly and drying up, add more red wine or a little pasta water to the pan.
Once it’s now cooked to al dente, remove from heat and add the grated parmesan and cubed butter. It helps if the butter is cut so that it melts into the pasta sauce more quickly.
The combination of the leftover red wine, parmesan cheese, and butter makes the most luxurious red wine sauce for pasta. Plus the pasta is infused with the flavor of the wine. Holy cow, it’s spectacular!
Toasted Pine Nuts
In the last few minutes of the pasta cooking, or immediately before serving, toast up those pine nuts.
Place them in a dry skillet over low heat. Stir them occasionally as they warm. It’s important to watch them because they can burn quickly. Once they’re warm and toasty, remove them from the heat.
Then, toss them in the pasta. Garnish with fresh basil or parsley, and it’s time to dig in!
Is this going to make me…?
Ok, so it’s called drunken pasta because the red wine infuses into the pasta, and the sauce…so does that mean you, too, will be plastered after dinner?
If you are, it won’t be because of the pasta. Alcohol has a boiling point of 173°F, so much of it boils off as the sauce simmers away.
While I cannot guarantee how much remains, from my own experience it’s not the pasta, but rather the glasses of wine I drink alongside of it that leave me feeling…elated. Please be responsible!
Ok, so this red wine spaghetti is truly best when enjoyed immediately after making it. However, if you do have leftovers and plan on reheating them, I recommend taking a few extra steps to make it better.
Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. When you’re ready to enjoy, the best way to reheat it is on the stovetop. Place the pasta in a skillet with a little water, vegetable stock, or hey, even red wine.
The goal is to reconstitute the sauce and keep the pasta moist, preventing it from drying out. The disasterious leftover-pasta-dry-out-situation is common when reheated in the microwave.
If the microwave is your only option, add a little extra liquid in there, too!
Looking for more to serve with your red wine pasta dinner? I thought we had the main food groups covered, but if you must, try one of these ideas:
- One of our lovely green salad recipes
- Roasted broccolini or air fryer brussels sprouts
- Start the night off with a crostini appetizer…
- …or a hearty loaf of bread and olive oil dip
I also recommend making a red-wine night of it and ending with a delectable red wine cupcake!
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Creamy Red Wine Spaghetti
- 16 ounces dried spaghetti noodles
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 8-10 garlic cloves, sliced
- ½ – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2 ¼ cups full-bodied red wine, additional ¼ cup, if needed
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 3 Tablespoons grated parmesan*, additional for garnish
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- Fresh basil leaves or parsley, optional for garnish
- Bring a large stockpot filled with water to a boil, generously adding a pinch or two of kosher salt. Once boiling, add the spaghetti to the water and cook for 3-4 minutes. It should be about half of the time on the box. Don't go any longer; the pasta should just bend. Drain and set aside (*do not coat in oil!).16 ounces dried spaghetti noodles
- As the water comes to a boil, begin heating a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. You will want a pan big enough to hold the pasta. Add the olive oil, heating slightly, then add the garlic slices, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until the garlic has softened. Pour in the wine, stirring to combine, and bring to it to a boil.¼ cup olive oil, 8-10 garlic cloves, ½ – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, Kosher salt, 2 ¼ cups full-bodied red wine
- Once pasta has par-cooked transfer it to the boiling wine. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for an additional 6 minutes or so, until the pasta is al dente. Stir/toss frequently to ensure the pasta cooks evenly as it likely won't be completely submerged. If the liquid appears to be "drying out" add a bit more wine as needed.
- Once the pasta is al dente, remove the skillet from heat. Stir in the butter and parmesan cheese until melted. Taste test for salt levels, adding more parmesan or a pinch of salt as needed.4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 3 Tablespoons grated parmesan*
- Toasted Pine Nuts: While pasta cooks, place pine nuts in a small skillet over low-medium heat. Toast for 3-5 minutes until slightly golden brown, warm, and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.⅓ cup pine nuts
- Finishing Touches: toss the pasta with pine nuts. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese and basil (or chopped parsley) as desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy, and cheers!
- Wine: a bold red will add the most flavor to the pasta. I recommend a cabernet sauvignon, syrah, or merlot, but really, any full-bodied red that you like to drink (that’s most important) will work.
- *Look for cheese specifically labeled vegetarian, if needed.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
This recipe is part of our Date Night Recipes to Love roundup. Check it out!
You had me at pasta and wine <3 <3 <3
That’s all I need to be convinced too! Hah!
Amazing!! My husband and I almost ate the full pound of pasta! You were right about the type of wine making a difference in taste; bold is best. We will definitely be making this again!!
I knew I should’ve said it was a two-serving recipe 😉 So glad you enjoyed!
This recipe checks all the boxes! So quick and easy, and oh so satisfying! Love it!
So glad to hear! 🙂
Can’t wait to try it..You had me at BLG!! We used to live there and the red wine spaghetti and the gnocchi with cauliflower were my two favs!
Omg YES! Those are the BEST! My mom is a huge fan of both of those too, and she makes this recipe all the time. I hope you love it as much as we do!
We loved it! We have tried a couple of other versions of this recipe and this is our fav so far..thanks for sharing!
So happy to hear! Thanks so much for trying it!
Sooo good, My husband and I loved it!!
So glad to hear! Thanks, Kelley!
This looks absolutely amazing! I’m looking to make this for my boyfriend this weekend for dinner, any suggestions on how I could cook some chicken to pair with it and a veggie as well? ☺️
Hi Cassie! I’m so glad you asked! I’d recommend a simple pan sear for chicken breasts (similar to Lauren’s here: https://zestfulkitchen.com/pan-seared-chicken-breast-recipe/) to pair with the pasta. I’m a huge fan of roasted broccolini (https://www.forkinthekitchen.com/roasted-broccolini/). Let me know how it turns out – sounds like a delicious weekend!!
So good!! Make this often!
I’m so glad to hear! It’s one of my favorites. Thanks so much for leaving a comment, Liz!