Red Wine Spaghetti
A less experienced cook might have just given up yesterday. Someone who didn’t know better, and perhaps considered parsley as a garnish anyway, would have stopped the search at store number 1. It was raining, after all. Raining cats and dogs. And it was an angry storm. But I’m not one to give up on things. Just ask my mother about the time I locked myself in my bedroom (or, rather, locked my parents OUT of my bedroom), screaming, crying, and wailing over my inability to write my name in cursive.
I was four years old at the time and full of piss and vinegar. Eventually I emerged, and although my eyes were swollen red and my work sheet was covered in tears, I had successfully written my name in cursive, thank you very much.
So after Store 1 was plum out of parsley, I moseyed over to store number 2. And it was raining. But I didn’t mind. There was more items than parsley on my list to pick up at store #2.
The herb section of store #2 was chock full of greens. I was sure that this would be the end of my parsley search. But, oddly, the only herb in stock on the three shelves was cilantro. Now I like cilantro just fine. But I had fresh whole wheat pasta drying in my kitchen for that night’s dinner and cilantro just wasn’t in the plan.
So I went to store number 3. By that time, it was no longer raining cats and dogs. Lions and hyenas poured from the sky instead.
But I was not discouraged. Until I got to the produce aisle, of course, and found that this store, too, was plum out of parsley.
So I called the Omnivore. He suggested an alternate dinner plan. I promptly hung up the phone. Damnit. I wasn’t about to change my plans over a measly herb and a little thunder storm. So, I hit store number 4.
I’m lucky they let me into that grocery store. By this time I was fully drenched (did I tell you I refuse to circle parking lots for close spots? And that I just park the furthest away from the front door because a little walking never hurt anyone…even in the rain…), and walking with quite a limp. You see, two weeks ago I ran a half marathon and injured myself during the final sprint. You would think I would have taken a few weeks off from running, but no, I had actually run a 10k race the morning of the parsley search.
Fortunately, my search ended here. I snatched my parsley, wrestled with the self-checkout machine (too embarrassed to go through the traditional checkout line in the shape I was in), had to call for assistance because the PLU number on the parsley was absent anyway! and sped home. Well, actually, I creeped home. By this time the rain had reduced my visibility while driving to all of 50 feet.
And after all of this…the meal was SO worth it. I would hunt down the parsley again. It was a meal like no other. The Omnivore proclaimed that his “tastebuds were dancing.” Should I ever find a half-consumed bottle of red wine in my kitchen again, this meal will be the first on the docket.
Red Wine Spaghetti with Walnuts and Parsley (4 servings, adapted from Food and Wine via this blogger)
5 cups water
3 1/4 cups dry red wine
3/4 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the water with 3 cups of the wine in a medium stockpot. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, stirring often. Drain, and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
Heat 1 T of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and season with salt. Cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1/4 cup wine and the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer. Stir in the pasta and continue cooking to absorb most of the liquid. This will take about 2 minutes. Mix in the parsley, nuts, 1/2 cup cheese, and the remaining 1 T of olive oil. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired, and serve with additional cheese.