spaghetti in zinfandel sauce with broccoli rabe, garlic and chile

by Stevie on October 12, 2010

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I saw this recipe in the most recent edition of Wine Spectator in that story about cooking and wine tasting with Michael Chiarello. It reminded me of a dramatic and colorful variation of orecchiette with broccoli rabe.

spaghetti in zinfandel sauce with broccoli rabe, garlic and chile

spaghetti in zinfandel sauce with broccoli rabe, garlic and chile

The red wine really stains the spaghetti beautifully. Chiarello’s recipe calls for Calabrian chile paste, which we didn’t have. Instead I used my fall back Vietnamese garlic chile sauce. Also, he recommends finishing with pecorino cheese and adding a tablespoon of sugar to the wine sauce. I used parmigiano reggiano and held the sugar.

Reducing the wine intensifies the flavors a lot. I used an inexpensive bottle of Cline zinfandel. It is fruity with some spice box on the nose. Once it was reduced and cooked into the spaghetti, the spices: ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon, were extremely prominent. Really, it was too much for Hegui who despises cinnamon in almost everything. But he was hungry so ate a lot anyway.

Next time, I’m going to more carefully select my zin and use a less powerful chile sauce. I might even add a pinch of sugar.

key ingredients for spaghetti in zinfandel sauce with broccoli rabe, garlic and chile

key ingredients for spaghetti in zinfandel sauce with broccoli rabe, garlic and chile

spaghetti in zinfandel sauce with broccoli rabe, garlic and chile

1 large bunch broccoli rabe
1 package spaghetti or similar
1 bottle zinfandel
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp garlic chile sauce
1 tsp or more salt
black pepper to taste
grated parmigiano reggiano to finish dish

Rinse broccoli rabe and cut stalks into about three even pieces. Blanch by boiling in water a few minutes until just tender then rapidly cooling in an ice water bath. Drain and set aside.

Pour wine into a large pan on high and reduce by half. This takes about ten minutes.

Boil spaghetti in the same water that broccoli rabe was cooked in for about five minutes. Reserve a cup of pasta water. Drain noodles. Pour wine reduction into empty spaghetti pot, bring to a boil and toss par boiled spaghetti back in until fully cooked.

While finishing noodles, pour olive oil and garlic into a large pan on high heat. Add chile and cook a minute or two. Add broccoli rabe, salt, black pepper and warm through.

Fold broccoli rabe into noodles. If too dry, add some reserved water. Toss with cheese and serve.

reducing the zinfandel almost seems like a crime against wine, though it is pretty exciting too

reducing the zinfandel almost seems like a crime against wine, though it is pretty exciting too

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