A No-Red-Sauce Dish to Serve With Italian Red Wines

spaghetti aglio e olioI was looking through my recipe box the other day — a mish-mash of index cards, handwritten notes, and old pieces of stationery with tattered edges that I inherited from my Mom — and I came across the recipe that follows.

Obviously, when I was a kid, I did not have this dish with wine. But now, far removed from kid-dom (yes, I just made up that word), it dawns on me that it serves a useful purpose (besides being delicious).

When it comes to Italian pasta dishes, I think most of us automatically presume there will be some kind of rich tomato or meat-based sauce involved. I love such sauces, but they can play havoc with one’s diet.

This dish, on the other hand, garners much of its flavor from garlic. Yes, there is some waist-challenging Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese among the ingredients, but it wouldn’t be Italian without that.

Here’s the best part, though: Even though there’s no red sauce, this is a dish that can be enjoyed with a good Italian red wine — like any of those featured in this Vinesse sampler.

This recipe renders 6 servings (depending on your appetites). Salud!



  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2-cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Over high heat, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot.
  1. Stir the spaghetti into the boiling water.
  1. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until tender but firm.
  1. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  1. Add the garlic and cook, shaking the skillet and stirring, until pale golden.
  1. Remove from the heat and add crushed pepper.
  1. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water into the sauce.
  1. Add the parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt to taste.
  1. Drain pasta, return it to the pot, and pour in the sauce.
  1. Cook until pasta is coated with the sauce and done.
  1. Serve immediately in warm bowls alongside glasses of Italian red wine.
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Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
One comment on “A No-Red-Sauce Dish to Serve With Italian Red Wines
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