I wanted to make some spaghetti sauce this week, using Lidia Bastianich's very-easy 20 minute pasta sauce. I decided to get creative, and not bother with the usual pasta, but instead go for something a bit different.
Not too long ago, I heard about a somewhat exotic-sounding method of boiling pasta in which you just replace the pasta water with red wine. The end result is a pasta that is fully infused with the flavor and color of red wine. Not only did this method of pasta prep intrigue me, but it also seemed like a good way to use up some of those half-drunk bottles of red wine I had sitting around long enough to not really be drinkable anymore, but not long enough to simply dump out.
This time I just eyeballed it instead of following a specific recipe. I used approximately 1/3 bottle each of Carro Tinto 2006 and Ergi Bikavér (Bulls Blood) 2005, two reds that I had laying around and liked but never got around to finishing (yes, I am a beer person). Also added about 1 cup of water to it to add some volume. I found that it didn't hurt the flavor.
I also used half a package of pasta - in this case capellini from Trader Joe's. I boiled the red wine as I would have water for the pasta. I may have boiled it a little longer than I wanted to, as it was a little more than al dente. However, the pasta did not clump as it can occasionally do when boiled in just plain old water if you're not watching (yes, it has happened to me once in a while, when I'm distracted).
The flavor was unbelievably tangy and slightly sweet. It paired well with the pasta sauce, which incorporates 1 1/2 cups of the red wine pasta water. However this is a pasta that you can probably just eat without any sauce, in order to get that red wine flavor.