Drunken Spaghetti Recipe For Leftover White Wine

By | January 18, 2015

Leftover Wine RecipeThis recipe is deliciously decadent, the pasta cooks in the wine, and ends up with a risotto like consistency, with all the wine flavor absorbed by the pasta, and the alcohol steamed off.

I tend to use wine that’s perfectly good, just not to my taste, or wine that’s sat in the fridge for a couple of days. If there’s an open bottle of wine in the house and no-one is drinking it, then it’s likely destined for the compost heap if it doesn’t get used in cooking, so it’s actually economical to use it in Drunken Spaghetti.

Whilst I suggest a full bottle of wine, if you’ve only got a half bottle or 2/3 bottle you can top it up with water without too much worry, the resulting pasta will be good, just less rich and less sweet – it will also have fewer calories.

You can use this recipe for leftover white wine by amalgamating dregs of a few leftover bottles, and you can use white wine that you’ve frozen glass by glass until you have enough. Previously frozen wine isn’t good to drink as the tartaric acid often crystallizes out, but it’s fine to cook with. You’ll sometimes see these crystals on the cork of a wine. Romantics call them “wine diamonds” but they’re just acid crystals and sometimes happen if the wine hasn’t been stabilized at a sensible temperature. They are perfectly safe – in fact they taste like the coating on those “sours” type of sweets.

The alcohol steadily evaporates away as you cook, but if you don’t drink you could use low sodium stock in place of the wine, but you’d need to re-name the recipe.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 1 bottle (3 cups) white wine – or white wine and water
  • 12 oz spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped and de-seeded
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated (vegetarian) Parmesan

I eat dairy, but if you want to make this dish for a vegan add in some vegan cheese substitute to keep the flavor balance.

You don’t need to drain your pasta for this dish as the whole point is that the pasta absorbs the liquid, but a good pasta pan is still worth having.


  1. Thinly slice the onion
  2. Heat the oil in a large pasta pan
  3. Add the onion to the oil and cook gently for five minutes to soften it
  4. Add the tomatoes and stir them about to soften them a little
  5. Break the spaghetti in half and throw it in the pan
  6. Pour in the bottle of wine and jiggle the pasta about until it’s covered by liquid – you may need to jiggle for a while until it’s pliable enough to sink it
  7. Set the timer for the cooking time indicated on your spaghetti, about 10 minutes, but don’t go away
  8. Stay around to smell the wine cooking and to check the pasta doesn’t boil dry
  9. If the liquid is almost all absorbed, but the pasta isn’t quite al dente add water 1/4 cup at a time until the pasta is cooked and has a risotto-like consistency
  10. Add the black pepper and cheese, stir through the pasta and serve immediately

Alternatively, you could always just drink the wine!

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