This red wine spaghetti is a classic: deeply flavorful garlicky pasta with a huge hit of robust red wine. Spaghetti ubriachi (as it’s also known) is rich and creamy, slightly tart, and absolutely addictive.
On a recent trip to Montreal, one of our favorite things was spaghetti ubriachi or red wine spaghetti. In Italian, ubriachi means drunk, so essentially it’s drunken spaghetti or drunken noodles. It’s a classic Italian dish made with red wine, garlic, olive oil, butter, spaghetti, and parmigiano. It’s amazing!
What is ubriachi spaghetti?
Ubriachi spaghetti, also known as drunken spaghetti, is spaghetti tossed in a glossy burgundy butter sauce seasoned with garlic and red pepper flakes, and finished with a generous amount of finely grated parmesan. It’s rich, full of flavor, and supremely satisfying.
What does red wine spaghetti taste like?
Red wine spaghetti is simple, yet rich, with an acidic kick from the wine. Think of it like an aglio e olio but with a hint of acidity (like the kind you taste in lemon pasta) and the warm richness of a good red wine thrown in. The butter adds a luscious creamy note, the crushed red peppers add a touch of spice, and the cheese adds umami and saltiness.
Where is ubriachi spaghetti from?
Drunken spaghetti is a classic Tuscan dish from the Umbria region in Italy. When pasta cooks in wine, the noodles stain with a deep mahogany and left with a lightly sweet and tart, deep bold umami flavor.
What kind of wine for ubriachi spaghetti?
In Tuscany, they use local red wine, such as something made with Sagrantino or Sangiovese grapes. Truly, any red wine that you enjoy drinking will work well for this dish, since you’ll be reducing it down to nothingness. It doesn’t need to be expensive, and in fact, the first time we had this dish, I asked our server what kind of wine they used for the sauce and he kindly asked the kitchen. It turned out to be a GIANT box of wine that was the cheapest they could find.
How to make red wine spaghetti
Making red wine spaghetti is simple but show stopping. The deeply hued pasta fits in at any dinner party or even just as a special weeknight treat.
- Warm the aromatics. In a large skillet, add olive oil, butter, garlic, and chili flakes. Gently warm the aromatics over medium heat, stirring, until the garlic is soft but not brown and everything smells amazing.
- Reduce the wine. Add the wine to the aromatics, turn up the heat and reduce it down into a slightly thickened sauce. You’re aiming to reduce by two thirds, so make a note of how high the wine comes up in the pan.
- Cook the pasta. While the sauce is reducing, cook the pasta according to the package directions, 3 minutes shy of al dente because we’re going to finish cooking the pasta in the wine sauce so all the deliciousness soaks in.
- Finish the pasta in the wine. Use a pair of tongs and grab the pasta straight from the water into the pan with the wine sauce (once it’s sufficiently reduced). Add in some butter and a touch of soy sauce and bring everything up to a simmer. Cook the pasta until just al dente, tossing as needed, until the sauce is glossy and coats each strand of spaghetti.
- Cheese it up. Remove the pasta from the heat and add in the cheese to finish. Toss, letting the cheese melt and coat the spaghetti, loosening with a bit of starchy pasta water if needed.
- Plate. Swirl the spaghetti on a plate and finish with freshly cracked black pepper, more cheese, and a generous drizzle of really good olive oil. Enjoy!
Our red wine spaghetti
We strayed from the classic version a bit to make this even more umami forward and delicious. Our secret ingredient is soy sauce! It adds just the right amount of salt and umami and just gives everything and extra bit of oomph. There’s just a tiny bit, but it makes a huge difference in highlighting the salty umami of the parmesan.
Red wine spaghetti ingredients
There are only 8 ingredients, making this a super simple dinner, shopping wise – it’s basically a pantry meal!
- Olive oil – If you want to be fancy, go for two different kinds of olive oil, one that you use for cooking and one that you use for finishing. A cooking olive oil is more affordable than a super high end finishing oil. In this recipe you can use your standard cooking olive oil, we usually reach for something like Filippio Berio or California Olive Ranch, which are super wallet friendly and available at most grocery stores. You can finish your pasta with it too, but if you want a bit of extra luxury, go for a finishing olive oil. Finishing olive oils vary quite a bit in taste, from peppery and bold to fruity and mild, so it’s best to pick one that you love the flavor of.
- Garlic – 4 cloves of garlic add a mellow garlicky sweetness and background note. If you’re a garlic lover, feel free to add more.
- Chili flakes – Just a bit of chili flakes to bring out the warmth and heat.
- Butter – We’re going to use this to emulsify the wine into a beautiful glossy sauce. Go for an unsalted grass fed butter if you can, otherwise, the butter in the fridge works just fine.
- Spaghetti – This is pretty standard, you want to go for a dried spaghetti as opposed to a fresh pasta here because the pasta finishes cooking in the sauce and a dried spaghetti holds up better.
- Red wine – A nice-ish but not too nice bottle is what we’re looking for here, see notes above.
- Soy sauce – Just a tiny, sneaky bit of soy sauce to up the umami. We like using Yamasa.
- Parmesan – This has got to be the real stuff that you grate by yourself, none of the green bottle! Grab a nice hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano, your taste buds will thank you.
What to serve with red wine spaghetti
Serve this up with a bright and bracing kale salad and some sourdough focaccia or garlicky soft rolls for the ultimate in Italian comfort food.
Hopefully a red wine night is in your future!
Red Wine Spaghetti
Spaghetti ubriachi is rich and creamy, slightly tart, and absolutely addictive.
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus extra to finish
- 6 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or more as desired
- 4 tbsp butter
- 8 oz spaghetti
- 1.5 cups red wine
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese finely grated
Add the olive oil, garlic, chili flakes, and 1 tbsp butter to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the garlic is soft, but not brown, about 3 minutes.
Add the wine and increase the heat to medium high and bring to a rolling simmer until it starts to reduce.
While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta 3 minutes shy of al dente. Pull the spaghetti straight from the cooking water using tongs and place it into the reduced wine sauce.
Add the remaining butter and and soy sauce bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the pasta is glossy and well coated.
Remove the pasta from the heat and add the cheese, tossing to melt evenly. If needed, add pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time to help melt the cheese evenly.
Serve topped with freshly cracked pepper and a drizzle of finishing olive oil. Enjoy!
Red Wine Spaghetti
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 370
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 18.4g115%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.