Eat like Italians: Red Wine Spaghetti with Spicy Rapini


Please bear with me as I continue on with my latest addiction: pasta. I have been reading up on pasta variations, regional differences and other techniques and tips, which is why I just can’t seem to resist testing out different combinations and sharing my favorites.

Red Wine Pasta

For this particular dish, pasta finishes its cooking in reduced red wine. The texture and flavor of wine alters the pasta and transforms it into a delicious and surprising dish.

Red Wine Pasta with Spicy Rapini

Adapted from Serious Eats


  • 1 1/2 lbs of broccoli rabe, or rapini, thick stems removed
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • one 750 ml bottle of dry red wine (bordeaux, zinfandel, cabernet, pinot noir, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or less if you prefer it less spicy)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus 1-2 tbsp for cooking spaghetti
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add rapini and cook for 3 minutes. Remove rapini with a wire skimmer and spread on a baking sheet.
  2. Bring water back to a boil and add spaghetti. Cook until a few minutes away from al dente (6 minutes or so). Reserve a cup of cooking water and drain pasta. Return empty pot to stove.
  3. Add wine and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add drained pasta and stir well. Cook until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 4 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent pasta from sticking.
  4. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, add garlic and immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 3 minutes. Add red pepper, rapini, salt and pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add rapini mixture to pasta along with 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Gently toss to combine. Garnish with grated cheese and serve immediately.

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14 comments for “Eat like Italians: Red Wine Spaghetti with Spicy Rapini

  1. Norma Chang
    February 28, 2012 at 8:50 am

    What a clever idea, cooking the pasta in the red wine. Love the color of the finished pasta stunning with the broccoli raab and grated cheese on top.

  2. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb
    February 29, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Oh yumm!! what a wonderful idea of cooking it in red wine. The colre looks surely attractive. thx for sharing your recipe!

  3. Faith
    February 29, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I love the beautiful color of pasta cooked in wine…just stunning. Sounds perfect with rapini and parm cheese!

  4. juniakk @ mis pensamientos
    February 29, 2012 at 8:49 am

    i have never heard of red wine pasta. WOW. i love how beautiful it looks too. i bet it adds such great flavor. i love wine in marinara sauce, so i bet this is delicious!!!

  5. lisaiscooking
    March 1, 2012 at 6:34 am

    I seriously never get tired of pasta. It’s one of my favorite things! I love the colors in this dish, and it sounds delicious.

  6. 5 Star Foodie
    March 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    The color of the pasta with cooking it in the wine reduction is amazing, love this!

  7. Peggy
    March 2, 2012 at 6:43 am

    I love the idea of red wine pasta! This sounds like the perfect weeknight dinner =)

  8. Kankana
    March 2, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I love cooking with wine but never really tried with pasta. This sounds lovely.

  9. wok with ray
    March 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I love the deep red that is almost burgundy color of the pasta — beautiful! Great shot of the food, Jessica!

  10. John
    March 4, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Love the overhead shot; the colors in this dish are stunning.

  11. Yi @ Yi Resevation
    March 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    This red wine spagheetti sounds so good…red color from the wine makes the dish so apetitzing! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    March 8, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    I appreciate your experiment as I am also a big fan of pasta. If my husband doesn’t complain about not liking pasta so much, I would be possibly cooking pasta everyday. I wish. I crave for Asian food but pasta is almost equal amount. Red wine spaghetti is such an unique idea and I already love this recipe!

  13. Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie
    March 23, 2012 at 5:13 am

    I’m really digging this dish. Spaghetti in red wine or squid ink are two things I definitely must try soon. They look so stunning and I bet the flavors are surprising and delicious. Seems like it would be perfect date food. 🙂

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