You know those days when you just can’t? I usually go all Barack Obama on myself but it was one of these days where “Yes, we can!” quickly turned into “No, we most definitely cannot!”. I can’t point out exactly what caused this sudden energy drop. Was it the sinus infection happening for the one millionth time in months? Did the sense of urgency of all my to do’s finally kick in? Was it the fact that I’m not 21 anymore but still ask my body to pretend I am on weekends? I’m sure all of these factors have their share in the bags under my eyes. Oh, how I wish I was 21 again and my face was still filled with natural collagen.
When I got out of the bus at the end of the day even the 500 meters walk home seemed impossible. The sidewalk isn’t a comfortable place to wallow in self-pity so I stumbled home anyway. Lucky for me (and everyone dining with me), I took the back door and walked straight into the kitchen pantry. Not literally, but given the stumbling it was close. My eyes fell on a pasta package my cousin Eline had gifted me for my birthday. It was one of those pretty gifts you fear to open because it looks so classy and you don’t want to ruin that. Until now. Since I was in ruins myself, opening the ‘linguine al vino rosso’ felt like the only right thing to do. I’m very pleased I did. What followed were two birds in one mouth-watering stone: the pasta finally got a place on the blog, and I got a comforting dinner when I needed it most.
You know how tiramisu means “pick me up” in Italian? Pasta al vino rosso is not an official synonym, but I tell you, it must be close. Here’s what I would do on a bad day. Pick a bottle of red wine you have in your house already. If you can’t find one, make a mental note to build a stock. Those bottles come in handy while preparing pasta or sauces, but also when the doorbell rings unexpectedly or when you come home after a long day. When you have found said bottle, pour yourself a glass. Just one, because you will need the rest of it to make this delicious, easy pasta dish. Just do it. Things will get better, I promise.
PASTA AL VINO ROSSO
400g long pasta (I used Oil & Vinegar’s linguine al vino rosso but any pasta will do)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
500 ml red wine. Full bodied is best (I used a Syrah I had open)
Salt and pepper
Grated pecorino or parmigiano, to taste
1 radicchio (or not, it’s OK to be lazy!)
Cook the pasta according to instructions, minus 1 minute. Preserve 1 cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, in a pan large enough to hold all of the pasta, heat a bit of olive oil. Add the crushed garlic and remove when browned. If you’re using raddichio, this is the time to add it until it has withered and is slightly caramelized. Add the red wine and lower the heat. It gets syrup-like after a while and that’s what we’re looking for.
Drain the pasta, but don’t let it dry out. Add to the pan immediately and smother in the red wine sauce. Add some of your preserved pasta water if needed to avoid sticky pasta.
Serve with grated cheese. Settle on your couch. Eat.