My friend Rolando (founder of Manicaretti Foods) came to town the other day and we had lunch and talked as always about food and what good things he had been eating in Italy and elsewhere during his travels. He described a dish the chef at Osteria da Camillo in Florence makes and I just had to steal it, it sounded too wonderful and it reminded me of a softer, more harmonious take on the spaghetti cooked directly in red wine I used to make. I know a lot of people think you should never cook with corked wine but if it's only lightly corked I always think you can't taste it in the end. This is sort of the perfect thing to do with a bottle of corked wine.
Makes 4 servings
• 400 grams long pasta, like spaghetti or bucatini
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
• 2 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 cups decent Italian red wine (can't go wrong with a classic Chianti)
• ¼ cup grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
Over very low heat gently sweat out the onions and thyme with a generous amount of salt (about one tablespoon) in the olive oil for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. Once the onions are wilted and translucent, add the wine and continue to cook gently over low heat until the entire thing has reduced and has the consistency of a thin jam (about an hour). Cook the pasta according to package directions or personal preference and toss with the sauce. Toss with cheese, adjust seasoning if needed, and serve immediately.
To read more about Sara's opening of Porsena and the Yelp reviews that followed, click here.