Posts Tagged Red Wine

Drunken Pasta

I’m counting us as moved in now. I found the box with salt owl, and all of my socks*, so my days are getting back to normal except for the part where all of our books are in boxes. We have many books. It’s kind of a problem. In the weeks leading up to the move, I kept cooking, but we really had to go for meals that took only one pot or pan. Everything else was in a box in the new place. Still, it was a fun challenge (I’m so glad it’s over) to try and keep things interesting in the kitchen with only one drawer full of kitchen equipment. Then I looked in the fridge (we hadn’t gone shopping in almost two weeks) and found that we were out of a lot of staples. There was Parmesan, and butter, and wine, and some Brussels sprouts, but very little else. We had eaten pasta for the previous three days, and were about to again. Don’t get me wrong, I love pasta, but there’s only so much one can have in a week before getting bored. Somebody needed to get drunk for this to work. Not me; as much as I cook with wine, I don’t drink it. I vaguely recalled seeing something about drunken spaghetti somewhere a few months before (cookbook? Internet? I really don’t remember.) and I thought, why not cook this pasta in wine? I won’t lie to you. It’s pretty darn good. The color alone makes me happy. The flavor, which I worried would be too strong for a non-wine drinker like myself, was actually perfect. I wanted seconds, which is rare for me. I think this could be improved by a bit of balsamic reduction drizzled on at the end, but otherwise it’s just right as-is. It’s easy–you just make pasta, really–but could be impressive, too.

Ingredients (serves 2 hungry people with leftovers) 1/2 pound angel hair or spaghetti

3 cups red wine

1 cup water

2 T butter

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

a sprig of rosemary

salt, to taste


Because I was using a very small pot for the pasta, I snapped it in half first. Pour the wine and water into a pot. Bring it to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente. This will take a different amount of time depending on the pasta you choose,  your altitude, whether you choose to salt the wine/water at this time, etc. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it over a bowl. We’ll use the cooking liquid for a sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan (or the same pot you made pasta in). Add rosemary leaves and cook gently to release the flavor. Pour the reserved cooking liquid into the butter. Boil the sauce over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or until it has reduced to your desired consistency. Pour the sauce over the pasta and serve with crispy roasted Brussels sprouts or broccoli. It turns out that this is just as good the next day, when there is slightly better light that at 9:00 at night. *I did not pack the salt owl and the socks in the same box. That would be ridiculous.


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Red Wine Poached Salmon

I may have mentioned that I rarely eat fish. It’s not that I’m averse to fish, it’s just that I live in North Texas and I know that whatever fish I buy is not fresh. It bothers me. But salmon is frozen almost everywhere you find it in the States, and it is Mr. B’s favorite fish, so I try to indulge him.

And oh, my, is this an indulgence. The dark, rich sauce. The delightful, tender salmon flesh. The crunchy side of green bean fries that I am not going to share a recipe for today.

I don’t drink red wine. Honestly, I drink maybe twice a year, and always wish I had just stuck with juice or soda when I do.  But for cooking, I use about a bottle of wine a week. I cook with beer as well, and if we ever had liquor in the apartment I would bake with it all the time. But I digress. Red wine forms a deep, impressive glaze on the outside of the salmon, and even if it did nothing for flavor I would cook this again for the color alone. The flavor is surprising–almost (but not quite) sweet, assertive, and really tasted more of grape than wine. Maybe this effect comes from the particular wine I used, I didn’t drink any to find out, but I was impressed with the result.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1/2 bottle red wine

1 sprig rosemary

2-3 cloves garlic

2 T honey

1/2 t worcestershire sauce

pinch salt

2 (four to six ounce) salmon filets

2 T butter


Mix wine, honey, worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, rosemary, and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.

Add salmon filets, reduce the mix to a simmer, and cook, covered, for five minutes. Flip the salmon over and cook, covered, for another five minutes. Set the cooked salmon aside.

Add butter to the poaching liquid, bring up to a boil, and reduce by half.

Spoon the sauce over the salmon and serve immediately. This is good with steamed vegetables or a salad, but infinitely better with the delightful crunch of batter fried green beans. It’s a guilt-free meal you must try soon. It’ll make up for the guilt from the brownies I’m writing up tomorrow.

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Smoked Duck Legs in Red Wine Sauce

Duck is amazing. The meat is dark and flavorful, the fat makes some of the best hash browns known to man, the skin crisps in no time flat and is incredibly forgiving and resistant to burns, and I just got a five and a half pound duck at the Asian market for $12. Or, to put it another way, cheaper than ground beef. Anyone who says duck is too expensive is not looking hard enough.

That sauce is really garishly purple. I wasn’t expecting it. I used to refuse to eat oddly colored foods, and I have to admit I was a little concerned about this one. In the end, I wished I had more of it to pour over the asparagus.

Duck Legs in Red Wine Sauce (serves 2)


For the marinade:

2 cups red wine (I used Bogle Syrah. because it was cheap, and we like Bogle generally.)

2 T miso paste

1-2 T mustard (or some mustard powder and a bit of minced garlic)

A great big sprig of fresh rosemary

Duck neck fat (I know, gross, right?)

For the rest:

Legs and wings of one duck

Salt and pepper to taste


Marinate the duck for at least a couple of hours. The best way to do this is probably to throw it in the marinade in the fridge before going to work (or even the night before) so it will have a good long while to soak and you won’t have to eat too late.

It was only coincidence that we ate something so darn pink on Valentine’s day, okay? Once you’re ready to cook, set your smoker up like we talked about before. Turn the stove up to medium and arrange the meat on the rack.

Shut the lid once it starts to smoke and ignore it for half an hour. This is when you make the sauce. I hope you didn’t throw out the marinade, because that’s pretty much what the sauce is. Slash open the skin of the neck flesh to expose the fatty layer and simmer in a small saucepan to render the fat. Discard the rest of the neck flesh, or feed it to the small carnivores. Either way works. Add the rest of the marinade to the saucepan and simmer until it is a consistency that makes you happy. I went for pretty darn thick. It will be purple. This may not make you happy.

Then the giant box-shaped timer in your kitchen will beep, and it’s time to check on the duck.  I had been planning to toss it under the broiler as I did with the chicken, but the skin was already brown and crisp so I just left well enough alone.

Sauce, duck, and vegetable ready to go. I plated the duck and asparagus, poured the sauce over the duck, and we were done. It is worth noting that each duck wing had about a half of a sliver of meat on it. I mean there wasn’t enough meat to feed my fish. It wasn’t worth the effort. But the legs were fantastic. Also, all the fat dripped right into the smoker drip pan and were easily poured into a little jar that is now waiting in my fridge. I look forward to the next time we want hash browns.

As a side note, want to add atmosphere to any dinner? Add a cheese course, or just one cheese. That smoked cheddar complemented the duck wonderfully, and made the whole meal feel a bit fancier for no effort.

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