Drunken Spaghetti

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Spaghetti Ubriachi, or Drunken Spaghetti, is a typical Tuscan dish that we also make here in Umbria. It is a very appealing dish to prepare, as the pasta cooked in the red wine takes on a gorgeous ruby red color.

Do not worry about getting tipsy while eating this pasta as the alcohol burns off with the heat leaving just a lovely hint of sweetness to the pasta. Here in Umbria our wine of choice would be a Rosso di Montefalco, or a Sagrantino di Montefalco, but feel free to use your favorite full bodied dry red wine for this dish.

I have seen a myriad of variations of this recipe over the years but this is our basic recipe that uses local red wine. You can also substitute anchovies for the pancetta in my version if you prefer (if you like anchovies ~ I don’t!) but the saltiness of the pancetta pairs well with the sweetness of the wine. Traditionally this pasta dish is not usually topped with cheese, but we often top our pasta with some grated Pecorino Romano cheese.




Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Drunken Spaghetti

Drunken Spaghetti

Yield: Serves 4 - 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 Pound Spaghetti
  • 4 to 5 cups Red Wine
  • 6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Pancetta
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
  • 3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley (Optional)
  • Grated Pecorino Cheese (Optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta for 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. While pasta is cooking, add the wine to a second large pot and bring it to a boil.
  3. Drain the pasta well and add it to the pot with red wine and continue to cook an additional 6 to 7 minutes or just until the pasta is "al dente".
  4. While the pasta is cooking in the wine, in a frying pan, heat the oil and cook the pancetta until light brown and just beginning to crisp,
  5. Add the garlic, stir well and remove from the heat.
  6. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  7. Drain the pasta once more of whatever wine is left (most will have been absorbed by the pasta) and add the drained pasta to the pancetta and oil mixture.
  8. Toss well and cook over the heat for a minute or so until it is well blended and piping hot.
  9. Add the parsley if using, toss and serve.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. I once bought a pack of riccioli al Barolo from Tuscany. I loved it’s dark pink color. I didn’t know that you can actually cook the pasta in red wine to get that rich color. Thanks for the post! I love the recipe!

  2. I too had never heard of cooking pasta in wine before – what a fantastic colour it gives to the pasta. I’m going to make this on Thursday this week, but I was wondering – do you think I could mix, say, half wine/half water to cook it in? I’d worry that the flavour would be really, really intense. I guess that’s kind of the point – but I know my wife isn’t a big wine fan so I don’t want to knock her over 😀

  3. Hi Deborah, I was wondering how the pasta would do if I made it a day ahead. I wanted to use it for a holloween dish with the pasta and adding fresh cheese ball with an olive slice for eye balls.its for a work potluck. I have a large heating pan to keep it warm. I love the color and want a dish that taste great. I know fresh would be best but that would not be posible. Thanks for your advice.

  4. I had this dish about 4 years ago in the Tuscan region of Italy and fell in love with the flavor.  I made it using sangria which gives it a sweeter taste.  Yummy!

  5. I have never heard of cooking pasta in wine. What a wonderful color and sounds delicious! thanks for sharing this article .

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