Red Wine Pasta: Perfect for Date Night! Quick, Easy, and Incredibly Flavorful

Gourmet Special: Red Wine Pasta

Do you need a fancy recipe for date night?  A romantic dinner for two?  Are your in-laws or boss coming over for dinner, and you need to impress?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Gourmet’ recipes.  These will still be budget friendly and relatively simple, but will help you confidently serve a gourmet meal without hiring a chef.

Picture the following: You have a date, you’re supposed to cook, and you only have about 20 minutes to get the food ready.  What do you do? Panic? (Yes, of course). Call for a restaurant reservation? (Maybe). However, there’s a 3rd option. Make fancy pasta. That’s right– pasta that looks terribly impressive, but in reality only takes a few minutes longer to prepare than plain old spaghetti marinara.  This Red Wine Pasta is vegan, flavorful, and incredibly quick to prepare.

Red Wine Pasta: Perfect for Date Night! Quick, Easy, and Incredibly Flavorful

Red Wine Pasta

Red Wine Pasta is made by cooking the spaghetti noodles partially in water, and then moving them over to a red wine sauce.  The noodles finish cooking in the wine, and absorb almost all of the sauce.  You’ll finish the pasta with Greek olives, capers, and a little bit of cheese.  Finish dinner with scrumptiously indulgent Chocolate Lava Cakes, and the rest of your date is up to you!

Note: This pasta… tastes like wine. Shocking, I know. Fair warning- If you don’t care for wine, you probably won’t like the pasta!

Looking for more date night ideas? Check out these dinners:

Red Wine Pasta: This easy to prepare, gourmet pasta meal is ready in 20 minutes and is perfect for a romantic dinner for 2!

red wine pasta

Red Wine Pasta: Perfect for Date Night! Quick, Easy, and Incredibly Flavorful

Red Wine Pasta

Course Main Course
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 leek, sliced (or sub 1 diced yellow onion)
  • 2 TB minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (or sub pre-made pasta sauce)
  • 1 750 ml bottle dry red wine (low or moderately priced wine is fine)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ~ 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • ~ 1/4 cup capers
  • Optional Toppings: freshly grated Parmesan, goat cheese crumbles, or vegan Parmesan


  1. Begin boiling water to cook spaghetti.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large deep sided pan or wok, saute leeks until softened on medium heat. Add garlic and stir (about 1 min). Add wine and tomato sauce, and increase heat to medium high. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and stir constantly.

  3. Begin cooking pasta- stop after 5 minutes. Reserve pasta water (to use if your pasta gets too dry)- Instead of draining, use a pasta ladle to take pasta out of water, shaking lightly to get rid of excess water, and set pasta into wine (being careful not to splash). 

  4. Stir constantly on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until all of the sauce has been absorbed. Depending on the type of wine, you may find that your pasta isn't as dark red as you would like. If this happens, add a little more tomato sauce to make it redder. If your pasta seems too dry, ladle over some of the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until it looks creamy.

  5. Add crushed red pepper, cayenne, salt, olives, and capers.

  6. Serve topped with cheese (optional).

Recipe adapted from:

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