Have you heard all the buzz about cooking with wine in your recipes? Yes, it’s true: wine and food is a match made in heaven. It is also true that as long as food and wine are carefully matched, they will complement one another in perfect harmony and bring your everyday cooking to a whole new level without any extra effort. To prove our point we’ve picked 3 delicious and amazingly easy recipes that will make you fall in love with the idea. Just remember, it is very important when cooking with wine, to use types that you would drink. While it is not necessary to use the most expensive wine, it is still essential to use good, flavorful wine. If not – then all those culinary benefits will be lost.
Why not start our culinary adventure with wine by making this great little pantry dish. A fancy makeover of familiar pasta, it’s not only easy, but also doesn’t require a long list of ingredients. It might also become your first go to dish when you need to impress your guests without spending too much time and money. This one may be the absolute easiest way to get started cooking with wine.
Although called “Drunken Pasta”, rest assured you won’t get drunk eating it – all alcohol basically cooks off leaving just a nice burgundy color and amazing flavor. What kind of red wine to use? Something dry and fruity would be good, like Chianti or a Zinfandel works great. Here’s what you need to serve 4 people.
- 1 pack (8 oz) spaghetti
- 1-1/2 cups red wine
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove cut in 3-4 slices
- 1/2 tsp red hot chili pepper
- 1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
- pinch of salt
- grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano cheese to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil, garlic and chili pepper on low heat. Simmer for couple of minutes until garlic is tender and fragrant, but not burnt. Discard the garlic and add the wine. Increase the heat to medium.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain well and add to the skillet, tossing in wine for about 2 more minutes until it is absorbed and pasta is cooked al dente. Check for doneness, add salt if necessary and serve immediately tossed with parsley. The pasta is delicious as is, but you can top it with some grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano to taste.
Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears
A really simple yet elegant dessert, Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears originated from a French dessert called Poire belle Hélène. Moderately sweet, fruity, with hints of red wine this truly decadent dish is perfect after any meal as it give you that clean fresh flavors that last.
- 2 cups dry red wine (such as Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz, Lambrusco or Zinfandel would work great)
- 4 firm, ripe pears
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbs sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed is preferred)
- One 1 by 3-inch strip orange zest
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine wine, sugar, orange juice, zest, cinnamon stick and cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Peel the pears and slice 1/2-inch off the bottom of the pears to create a flat bottom. Put pears in the liquid, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally until pears are cooked but still firm. Remove pears from saucepan and set aside to cool. Simmer the leftover syrup over a medium-high until it’s thicker and reduced the amount in half. Pour sauce over the pears and serve warm or chilled.
Sparkling Wine Jelly
Alcoholic jelly? Truly a stroke of genius! A very festive (and fancy) dessert made in a matter of minutes, sparkling wine jelly is a great way to use up sparkling wine or champagne leftovers. Even if sparkling wine left around is not a common occurrence in your household, this dessert is definitely worth buying an extra bottle (or two).
- 350ml sparkling wine (Cava, Prosecco, Nyetimber, Chapel Down are all great options)
- 4 sheets gelatin
- 2 tbsp agave syrup
- Fresh or frozen red berries for garnish
Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water according to the package instructions. Take a cup of wine and warm it up to about 60-70ºC. Add the softened gelatin to warm wine and stir until dissolved.
Add the remaining sparkling wine and syrup and mix thoroughly. Pour in wine or martini glasses and cool to room temperature first. When cooled, put the glasses into the fridge to set overnight (or at least 3 hours). Serve chilled garnished with red berries to taste.
- Do you want to try cooking with wine even more? Check out these useful Tips for Cooking with Leftover Wine.
- Encourage your friends to do the same by sending a bottle of their favorite wine or by sharing this article.
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