Creamy Red Wine Spaghetti

I’ve been seeing lots and lots of red wine spaghetti recipes popping up everywhere which, if you’re a red wine lover, is a dream. Since I’m not, I approached the idea of red wine spaghetti trepidatiously. I mean let’s be honest. I do not care for red wine in the least really hate red wine so why would I like red wine + noodles? Still the idea intrigued me. I’ve seen very simple recipes that are essentially just noodles cooked in red wine. Snooze-fest. But amongst all of those toad of a red wine spaghetti recipes I found a prince: a recipe for a creamy red wine spaghetti from eatwell101.

Let’s take a sec to discuss why this red wine spaghetti recipe was heads and tales above the rest despite the fact that the pictures just were not as appetizing as plane ‘ole spaghetti cooked in red wine. First of all, creamy any type of sauce is basically my dream. Also the recipe calls for plenty of garlic, basil and cheese and even some crushed red pepper for a bit of a kick. Can I get a “yes please to all of those flavors?

Not to burst your bubble immediately or anything, but I was not blown away by this recipe the first day I made it. I had this recipe pegged as just another recipe that was going to remain buried in my “drafts” column never to see the light of day. These types of recipes I find mildly annoying. They sound good and I go through the whole rigamarole of taking pics and 72 different angles and then bite into the dish and realize it turned out just so-so. I’ve had a few of those recently. Boo!

But once I begrudgingly got around to digging into the leftovers (it took several days because there was so much better food in my fridge that I wanted to eat first) they were basically gone in a day. Yep. Three portions of leftovers. One day. You do the math.

My body has two internal signals that help me to self regulate eating. I want to stick a big old laughing face emoji right after that last sentence because I often don’t let my body’s internal signals deter me from plowing through all the food in front of me. But for your awareness, the first is that my nose starts to run. This signal is telling me “you’ve had enough.” Phase two kicks in after I ignore phase one. Once I’m beyond full I stop being able to taste food. Honest to Betsy. So in theory if I chow through the runny nose phase I’ll stop eating when food becomes tasteless. Big ‘ole laughing face emoji.

The day I tested this recipe, I wasn’t hungry when I made it. I just wanted to use up the remaining fresh basil leftover from Easter and ¾ a bottle of red wine, also leftover from Easter. When I plated this dish to take pictures, I, of course, had to test the pasta. (You can’t blog about food if you don’t try the food so you can write about it. That’s basically food blogging 101, right?) I intended to eat only a few bites but I kept eating because I couldn’t tell if I liked the flavor or not.

Does this happen to anyone else? I once made my way through an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s core something-or-other flavored ice cream trying to determine if I liked the ice cream or not.

I think I can safely hypothesize that when I made this spaghetti I wasn’t hungry. I had earlier in the day had some cake. It may have been like an hour before I made the spaghetti and I may have had two pieces of cake. But in my defense the pieces weren’t that big. OK it may have been two pieces that weren’t that big and then another a tiny sliver. I can’t trust myself around cake, OK?

The good news for me is that reheating this pasta dish was a snap. I threw some olive oil in a large fry pan over medium-low heat and add the pasta on top, stirring until the noodles were heated throughout. My favorite part of this dish was the basil flavor. I would add more next time. And as for the red wine flavor? I honestly don’t know that I could even taste it at all. I think it was tempered by the other strong flavors in the dish.  If, like me, you’re not thrilled about red wine but intrigued by the idea of cooking pasta in red wine, this dish is for you.


  • ¾ bottle of red wine, divided (reserve 1 cup)
  • water
  • 16 oz. spaghetti 
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. red hot chili pepper (omit if you don’t like spice)
  • salt, to taste
  • ¼ c. cream, heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil 


  1. Add all but one cup of red wine to a large pot. Add enough water to be able to cook the pasta and some salt; bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook for about 5 minutes, until just al dente or just below al dente. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil, garlic and chili pepper on low heat.  Gently cook about 5 minutes making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and then add spaghetti to the skillet, tossing in the wine and cream until wine is absorbed. If necessary, add reserved cooking water with wine to keep pasta wet. (I added about two cups of pasta water.) Test pasta for doneness and continue cooking, adding more cooking liquid, if necessary.
  4. Add cheese and basil and toss. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve with additional parmesan and basil on top.

Recipe rating: 

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