Drunken Pasta

Leftover bottle of wine? Don't despair, Gourmess is here.

There was a very sad sight in our kitchen: A nearly-full, opened bottle of red wine that was apparently forgotten about and no longer great for drinking. I put the bottle in the fridge thinking I could use it in a stew or perhaps a batch of sub-par sangria, but then I remembered hearing someone talk about boiling wine, and I thought, "Let's boil the wine and make pasta!" Hence, this Drunken Pasta recipe was born.
Drunken Pasta
2 quarts water
1 bottle red wine
1 lb. dry spaghetti or other favorite pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
6 slices of thick-cut bacon, diced
1TBS olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 TBS butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping TBS of tomato paste
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
2 TBS fresh basil, chopped
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 1

To Do:
  • Bring the water and the wine to a boil in a large pot. Be careful when you add the pasta! The wine may cause the liquid to bubble up, so stand back. (Don't overfill your pot.)
  • Cook the pasta until it s al dente, then drain it (do not rinse!) and set aside, keeping about 1 cup of the pasta liquid. 
  • Heat the pecans in a small pan over the stove, stirring frequently, until toasted. Set aside.
  • In a large pan (big enough to hold the pasta), cook the bacon until crispy, then remove the bacon from the pan and set aside, but keep warm.
  • Add 1 TBS of olive oil and the butter to the pan with the bacon drippings, then sauté the onion and garlic over medium-high heat until soft and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the reserved pasta water, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Let sauce reduce a bit (about 2 minutes), then gently add the pasta and mix everything together. 
  • Remove from heat. Stir in the bacon, 1/4 cup of the goat cheese, and all of the toasted pecans. 
  • Transfer to individual bowls, then top each serving with a drizzle or two of olive oil, a bit more goat cheese, a sprinkle of basil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes, if using.