Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Drunken Spaghetti [Nick]

Degree of difficulty: easy
Time: 45 minutes (includes prep)
I know what you’re all thinking…no, unfortunately, this pasta doesn’t take you into a state of inebriation. However, what this pasta CAN do is make your taste buds drunk with happiness and longing for more.

I’m no expert cook, let’s be honest. In fact, after working all day and then going to the gym or running, I’m usually exhausted by the time dinner rolls around. I usually look for three key elements in dinner: simplicity, quickness, and taste. Often times those three elements don’t combine very well (see: Fast Food), but I have found a meal that is both swift and delicious.

To cook the pasta for this dish, I used a cheap bottle of red wine, combined with water. The pot should be at about 50/50 with water and wine. Some people may choose to use a leftover bottle of red, which also works (see: ‘not finishing your alcohol’…for shame). Bring the water to a boil, and simply cook the pasta as you normally would. When the noodles are finished, they should be a light purple color, and will have absorbed the taste of red wine…paradiso!

As the pasta is boiling, take the pancetta and cook it in a frying pan on a medium-low heat. This type of bacon cooks a little differently from regular bacon, so make sure you are watching it carefully. Throw some fresh-ground pepper onto the pancetta, and smell the glory.

When the bacon is done cooking and the pasta is ready, strain the noodles but leave a fair amount of the wine/water in the pot, as you will use some of this for your sauce in just a few short steps.

Take the noodles from the pot and add them to the pan with the pancetta. As the noodles are being added, toss in some ricotta cheese. This helps thicken the sauce, so it is up to your discretion on how much to use. Continuously stir and mesh the noodles with the ricotta. At this point, I added more of the wine leftover from the pot to ensure that my dish was flavorful and captured the full essence of the red wine. Toss in some more fresh-ground pepper and a bit of salt, and you are ready to plate.


Plate the purple-hued noodles, ensuring that there is plenty of pancetta in the serving. At this point, take a spoonful of finely chopped walnuts and sprinkle over top. Don’t worry; the best part is still yet to come…


Parmigiano-Reggiano...Pow! Add some to the top of the dish and you’ve got yourself one fine looking plate of food. The cheese adds a bit of saltiness to the dish…so, if you must….over-cheese, please do not over-salt.


Disclaimer: I made some baked asparagus on the side. All you need is a bit of olive oil, pepper and salt. Throw it in the oven, turn’em, take’em out and enjoy.

Pack of Spaghetti
Bottle of Red Wine
Pancetta (1/2 lb)
Ricotta Cheese (discretionary)
Parmigiano-Reggiano (lots)
Walnuts (handful)

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