Drunken Fettucine (Pasta with Red Wine and Pancetta)

May 6, 2019  •  Pasta & Pizza

I subscribe to the online version of the New York Times, and more specifically to some of their daily newsletters, including the Cooking daily feed. I usually scan it quickly, might make a note about some idea I have for a future recipe, or simply hit delete, but a few weeks ago I was instantly attracted to a recipe for Spaghetti Ubriachi. As I’m prone to do, and as you should also, I made it my own with some tweaks here and modifications there.You must start with some pancetta. I make my own pancetta every year when I get half a hog from a local farmer, but you can also use American bacon if you don’t have pancetta on hand. You’ll want to cook it over medium low heat to render out most of the fat without burning the pancetta. I usually slice off some of the thick fatty portion, so I am working with a slightly leaner product. Once it’s cooked, pull the pancetta out to the side and drain off all but a tablespoon of the fat.There aren’t a ton of ingredients in this sauce – it’s simple, the way Italian food is supposed to be. You’ll sauté the onion (I had the ends of green onions on hand, but thinly sliced red onions work too), then some minced garlic, tomato paste, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.Pour in the red wine, return the pancetta to the pan, the add a bay leaf, and let it reduce while the pasta is cooking.You’ll end up with a nice thick red wine sauce like this after about 5-8 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, toss in the pasta and a bit of Parmigiano Reggiano, turn it out onto a plate and ecco là! (That’s Italian for voila!)I like to garnish the dish with a bit more cheese, and if I had it, some fresh basil. You must, of course, drink a nice glass of red wine with the meal. The recipe is portioned for two servings, and I had all I could manage to eat only one and save the seconds for another meal!

Drunken Fettucine (Pasta with Red Wine and Pancetta)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2
  • 3-4 ounces fairly lean pancetta, cubed (or bacon lardons)
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 4 ounces fettuccine (or spaghetti)
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions, or thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Basil, for garnish (optional)
  1. Cook the pancetta over medium heat to render the fat, taking care not to burn, until lightly browned.
  2. As the pancetta cooks, bring a pot of water with 1 cup of the wine added to boil; when rapidly boiling, salt the water and cook the fettuccine to al dente.
  3. As the pasta cooks, remove the pancetta to a dish and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat. Sauté the onions in the fat for about a minute, then add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, bay leaf, and remaining cup of wine, stirring to pull up and bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaf, drain the pasta, and add it to the pan with the sauce. Add half of the cheese and toss together before turning out onto a platter. Garnish with remaining cheese and thinly sliced basil if desired.


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