Whether you’ve got a killer headache or you’ve opened a bottle that tastes like it came from the depths of Mordor (okay, if it’s THAT bad then take it back to the shop), from time to time we are all faced with the preposterous reality of leftover wine. A partially drunk day-old bottle may still be consumable on day two, but much beyond that I’m struggling for alternative uses that don’t involve the drain.
Right about the time when I had a leftover bottle of an average weeknight Côtes de Gascogne, I heard a rumour that cooking pasta in wine is not uncommon in Italy, especially by vintners. The wine I had to hand was drinkable but nothing special, and so I decided to experiment with the few drops left in a one-pot pasta dish.
When cooking with wine there are a couple of points to keep in mind. First of all if you use an awful wine, it won’t magically become not awful when you add it to your food. If it’s a faulty bottle or you just hate it for any reason, bin it before you cook with it. Second, this recipe works best with dry wines, so save your 5 litre bottles of Manischewitz or Blossom Hill for another day.
Finally, keep in mind that any standout flavours in the wine are likely to remain pronounced in the final dish. For instance the wine I used here (made with Colombard grapes) is not dissimilar in flavour to Sauvignon Blanc, so the end result had a marked passionfruit note. I liked it, but it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste.
Leftover White Wine Pasta
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely diced carrot
- 2 tablespoons finely diced celery
- 2 tablespoons finely diced onion
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 100 millilitres dry white wine
- 100 millilitres passata
- 50 millilitres unsweetened non dairy cream (e.g. Alpro or Oatly)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 80 grams pasta
- 1-2 tablespoons grated vegan parmesan
- finely sliced basil
Fry the carrot, onion, and celery in the oil until soft. Add the wine, passata, cream, salt, and the pasta. Cook at medium heat until the pasta has absorbed all of the liquid. If the pasta is not cooked enough, add a little bit of water and continue to cook until al dente.
Serve with vegan cheese and basil sprinkled on or stirred through.
- The volume of this recipe can be increased easily depending on how much leftover wine you want to use up.
- Choose a dry, not sweet, wine.
- Remember that the flavours of a wine with big aromatics will come through in the pasta.