Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Zinfandel Spaghetti with Spicy Broccoli

Zinfandel Spaghetti with Spicy Broccoli

Before I start discussing this dish, I'd first like to thank Donna and Chad of The Slow Roasted Italian for choosing me as the winner of their Fresina's Pasta Company and Italian Specialties Giveaway! If you get a chance, check out Fresina's at their website. You'll see these ingredients used here soon.

I really like this dish because it's visually striking, yet easy enough for a weeknight meal. I've also never seen pasta prepared so creatively. Perhaps this could be a first course for the pesto chicken recipe I profiled last week?

A note of disclosure: This is the dish I referred to in my chicken teriyaki recipe a few months ago. I wanted to go back to correct the mistake I referred to earlier.

The Challenge

Practice my plating and photography skills while correcting a flaw in the cooking instructions.

The Source

This recipe appears on page 104 of Michael Chiarello's Bottega by Michael Chiarello with Ann Krueger Spivack and Claudia Sansone, but I originally found it on Tasting Table. I have used the updated version on Chef Chiarello's own website, NapaStyle here.


1 3/4 pounds broccoli crowns
1 pound spaghetti
1 bottle red wine (750-ml -preferably Zinfandel)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese


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

2. Return cooking liquid to a boil and cook spaghetti, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes only. (Pasta will not be fully cooked). Reserve one cup of pasta water and drain pasta in colander and return empty pot to stovetop.

3. Add wine and sugar to pot and boil vigorously 2 minutes until liquid is reduced a bit. 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 the liquid is absorbed, about 6 minutes (Pasta should be al dente).

4. Immediately after adding spaghetti to wine mixture, cook garlic and red pepper flakes in the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat, tosing the ingredients occasionally, until garlic is pale golden, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water.

5. Pour broccoli into pot with the spaghetti mixture and carefully toss with tongs to combine. Cook while stirring, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, season with freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Stir in the grated cheese. Serve immediately.


Yes! The broccoli never splattered like my first experience with this dish. I was also skeptical the broccoli would be cooked through, but it was allowed to cook after they were removed from the water.


  1. wow looks like an interesting dish. I love the idea of cooking the pasta in the wine-def a must try for me!

  2. I've never cooked with a zinfandel before. Will have to try this out!

  3. Looks good! The plating is great, too. I've been curious about cooking pasta with wine like this for a while now... I keep seeing recipes that just boil the noodles in nothing but wine, and then drain (what a waste of wine and flavor!) but I think you've got the technique right, here! Will have to give it a try sometime. :)

  4. Congrats on winning the giveaway. Your pasta looks really good. What a great idea to cook the pasta like that, never would have thought of it.

  5. Love red wine pasta! I made them with Chianti and arugula and it's delicious.

  6. Thanks for the shout out DB. Let us know when you get the package. You are going to love it all!!!

  7. I've never made red wine pasta but I just bought some broccoli today so it looks like I'll have to try it!

  8. Congratulations on your win!!! This pasta is gorgeous! I'd love to give this recipe a try :)

  9. I've never heard of cooking pasta in wine before. Will have to try it sometime!

  10. How interesting that pasta turns to this color - must be delicious! Glad to hear you succeeded. :-)

  11. This sounds delicious! I love the use of red wine here and pecorino is so flavorful! Beautiful color as well!


Feedback is always welcomed. If you're going to be critical, be constructive. In other words, be nice.