Easy Red Wine Pasta Sauce

Easy Red Wine Pasta Sauce

This easy sauce recipe includes your favorite wine as well as your favorite pasta!

Homemade sauces can be daunting, but we make it easy with a simple bottle of wine.

It’s easy to go with store bought sauces, but this simple recipe elevates the flavors we love and impresses all the foodies.


    Red Wine Pasta Sauce Ingredients

    • About 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 cup of a dry red wine (We recommend a cabernet sauvignon)
    • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (56 ounces)
    • 1 tablespoon of Honey
    • 2 tablespoons of basil (finely chopped)
    • ½ cup of diced onion
    • 1 teaspoon of dried Oregano
    • Red pepper flakes to taste
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
    • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic (Or 2 cloves, minced)
    • 1 package of Dagostino Spaghetti Pasta

    Red Wine Pasta Sauce Directions

    Prep time for this recipe is 10 minutes and cook time is 30 minutes, making this dish an easy 40 minute recipe which yields about 5-7 servings.

    1. Set stovetop heat to medium. Heat half of your olive oil in a dutch oven or large skillet.
    2. Add in onion, salt, and Oregano and let cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are starting to turn slightly brown (About 5-8 minutes).
    3. Add the garlic and red pepper to the browned onions and continue to cook until golden (About 1-2 minutes)
    4. Stir in half of your cooking red wine, and let cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated.
    5. Once wine is nearly evaporated, add the other half of wine and cook for about 5-6 minutes.
    6. Stir in canned tomatoes and honey, bring sauce to a simmer and let it thicken while stirring occasionally (About 10 minutes).
    7. Turn off heat, add cooked pasta.
    8. Stir in remaining olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil to taste.

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    What does red wine do to pasta sauce?

    Adding red wine to your pasta sauce is a great and easy way to simply elevate your pasta dish. The alcohol present in the wine has a quality that enhances the flavors within the sauce. It highlights the taste of each ingredient and really rounds out all the flavors into a nice balanced flavor profile. Red wine will also reduce the fats in the sauce, heightening the flavors of other ingredients that fats may dilute. Ingredients like oil, butter or broths cannot do this within a sauce.

    The acidity of red wine is an important quality to consider. The goal is to choose a red wine with enough acidity to avoid being overpowered by the acidity of the tomatoes in the sauce.

    Dagostino’s pasta sauce uses honey as a natural sweetener that neutralizes the acidity of tomatoes, however canned tomatoes still have lots of acidity that need to be mellowed. 

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    Protip: it’s important to ensure there is enough time for the alcohol to cook off in the sauce. When about half of the wine evaporates, the flavors of the sauce begin to concentrate to bring that delicious richness we aim for. Make sure the win you are cooking with is room temperature.

    What red wine is best for pasta sauce?

    The best wine to drink along-side most pasta dishes would be a medium bodied wine. However in this article we want to know the best wine to use within a pasta sauce. For this use, there are several types of wine we recommend. The best red wines to use when cooking pasta sauce are Cabernets, Chianti, Merlot and Pinot Noir. 

    Chianti is an Italian origin wine, created using Sangiovese grapes. It’s affordable, and ranges in a wide variety of flavor notes like mushroom, tobacco, and cherry. This is a great option for chefs who are looking to highlight certain notes within a dish.

    Merlot is a wine best known for deep and “dark” flavors, such as coffee, cocoa, spices and black berries. Although this wine can be light, it provides enough of the qualities needed in a red wine to enhance a tomato pasta sauce.

    Pinot Noir is typically most used as a cooking ingredient, because of its “middle of the road” flavor. The flavors won’t overpower your sauce, but will still enhance it!

    In this recipe, we use a Cabernet Sauvignon because it is considered an oaky wine, created in South France. It possesses a moderate level of acidity, which is ideal for braising meat. Unlike red wines with high levels of sugar, Cabernets tend to not to caramelize ingredients while cooking, so it's well-suited for dishes that require hot cooking temperatures.

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    More about wine and pasta pairings

    Want to impress your friends at dinner? Nothing says “ultimate foodie” like recommending the perfect wine for a meal! Learn more about perfect wine and pasta pairings at our blog spot here!

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