Napa Valley chef Michael Chiarello calls Zinfandel one of his favorite wine grapes. He also loves pasta. So Chiarello, himself a winemaker, combined his passion for Zinfandel wine and pasta to create the show-stopping dish featured here: Zinfandel spaghettini with spicy rapini.
“This dish lets you kneel at the altar of Zinfandel, a glass of it at your right hand, an entire plate of it on your left,” he writes in Michael Chiarello’s Botega (Chronicle Books, 2010), where the recipe appears. “The pasta is barely cooked in water and then finished in Zinfandel until deep purple in color.” (We’re guessing you can use another decent red wine other than Zinfandel if it would be cheaper on your pocketbook.)
Chiarello says this dish is “simple and yet extravagant.” The cooked pasta is topped with rapini, also known as broccoli rabe, and a grating of pecorino cheese. The rapini itself has been sautéed with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and some chile paste for added heat. (Click here to see the recipe.)
Chiarello calls this dish “a great crowd pleaser.” We’re betting he’s right.
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