I was inspired to up my pasta game after eating at the creole restaurant The Parish in Tucson, AZ. The “Drunken Angel” was about a million gorgeous calories of angel hair soaked in burgundy, topped with shrimp, crawfish, and lobster broth with a red pepper cream sauce. It was delicious. I heard from a friend that they soak their angel hair in burgundy for 24 hours, but I wanted to shorten the soak time to see if it would still measure up to the 24 hour pasta and still be as good.
I was very happy with soaking the pasta for one hour. I’m sure if you wanted to go up to 2, it would get even better, but for the sake of time the recipe just calls for one hour of soaking. There are some recipes going around that are just cooking the pasta in wine, but I really think the soaking is necessary for drunken pasta so the pasta has time to absorb enough flavor and color. I tried the cooking in wine only method myself to compare, and the pasta that had not been soaked and just cooked in wine didn’t have enough time to absorb very much flavor from the wine. Apart from that, it was a pretty unappetizing grey color. For this recipe, I soak the angel hair in wine, and then cook it in a combination of water and wine to preserve the nice purple color.
For the sauce, I went for a simple Italian red sauce. Italians will tell you that the key to good Italian food is simplicity- and they’re right.
My 30 minute red sauce is meant to be the perfect marriage between pantry and fresh ingredients, using canned diced tomatoes and tomato paste along with fresh spices. It’s something you can easily pull out of your bag of tricks without getting much at the grocery store.
If you don’t have half an hour to spend on the sauce and you have some cherry or grape tomatoes and a few basic Italian spices, see my 5 minute pasta sauce here.
- 8 oz. Angel Hair pasta
- 1 cup plus ½ cup dry red cooking wine
- 2 28 oz. cans regular diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup white cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
- Pour 1 cup red cooking wine into a shallow sided baking dish. Place the angel hair into the wine, spreading it out so the wine totally covers the pasta. Soak for as little as 1 hour or up to 2. As the pasta soaks, the wine will be absorbed. During soaking, you can gently rotate the bottom layers to the top and the top to the bottom for even absorption. You will notice the pasta at first takes on a grey color, but this will deepen to a nice plum shade.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat. When heated, add enough extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic, and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring so it doesn’t brown. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, and marjoram, and reduce the heat to medium low or where it has a nice simmer but is not cooking rapidly. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid has been reduced by about half. Add the wine, ketchup, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce and stir well to combine. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When you are ready to cook your pasta, about 10 minutes before the sauce is done, bring a quart of water to a boil with salt and a little extra virgin olive oil. Pour in the reserved half cup of wine. Cooking the pasta in more wine will ensure that the pasta will stay a nice deep purple instead of bleeding and turning grey. Since the pasta has been soaking in liquid, it will be fully cooked after about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and toss with more extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking.