This red wine pasta sauce is an easy twist on a classic Italian marinara, and is made with fresh or canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs and wine.
I've been making lots and lots of pasta sauce lately.
Quite honestly, we don't typically eat much pasta, but the fresh summer tomatoes are calling to me. I want to eat as many as possible, and pasta sauce seems like a perfect way to enjoy them.
Now, as summer is winding to a close and cooler fall weather is drawing near, I've been thinking about another pasta sauce.
This red wine pasta sauce originally appeared on Champagne Tastes back in 2016, and guys, it originally used an entire bottle of wine. And that, quite frankly, is why I hadn't made this sauce in years.
I rarely have an entire bottle of wine set aside for pasta sauce.
This revised recipe uses one cup of dry red wine, and (in my opinion) it tastes better than the original.
Plus this way you can use part of the bottle for cooking, and serve the rest of the bottle with dinner. It's a much better plan.
What Kind of Wine Should I Use?
Use whatever type of dry red wine you have on hand.
Dry reds include wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Malbec, and Zinfandel.
I don't like to cook with very expensive wine, but keep in mind that you can taste the wine in this pasta sauce. Use a wine you enjoy.
We generally buy our wine at Trader Joe's.
Can I Use White Wine Instead?
You sure can!
Your pasta sauce will be a lighter color than the sauce in the photos, and will appear more like a traditional marinara.
Make sure to stick to a dry white wine (not a sweet wine), such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Pinot Grig.
Does the Alcohol in Red Wine Pasta Sauce "Burn Off"?
It should to some extent, yes.
You'll be simmering the wine for about 30 minutes total, which means yes, some of the alcohol will burn off. But not all of it.
This isn't a kid-friendly sauce. If you're cooking for children or for someone who doesn't drink, stick to my classic marinara sauce.
What Kind of Tomatoes Should I Use for This Pasta Sauce?
This sauce works well with fresh or canned tomatoes.
It also works perfectly with frozen tomatoes. The tomatoes in the photos are fire-roasted tomatoes that I cooked and froze earlier this summer.
How to Make Red Wine Pasta
Start with a large, heavy, shallow pan. I used this Lodge 12" carbon steel skillet.
Add olive oil and a diced onion to the pan, and cook the onion until it begins to brown.
Add garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant.
Next, slowly pour red wine into the pan.
Simmer the wine for about five minutes.
Add the tomatoes, oregano, and chili flakes.
Bring the sauce to a hard simmer.
Continue to simmer your red wine tomato sauce until it thickens, about 20 or 25 minutes, depending on how juicy your tomatoes are.
At this point, you can add freshly cooked pasta to the sauce, toss it to coat the pasta, and then serve everything right away. If you prefer, you can store the sauce for later in the fridge or freezer.
Red Wine Pasta Sauce
- large heavy skillet (12-inch minimum)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 pounds fresh tomatoes (diced) or 28oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Add the oil, onions and salt to a large, shallow pan. (Use a 12" pan or larger, see recipe notes.)Cook the onions over medium heat until they begin to brown (~5 min). Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute, or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Slowly pour half the wine into the pan. Let it come to a simmer, and then add the remaining wine. Continue to simmer the wine for 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer the tomatoes for 20-25 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated and the sauce has thickened.Taste the sauce and add more chili flakes, salt, or oregano if desired. Simmer 1-2 more minutes if you added more seasoning.Serve immediately along with fresh pasta, refrigerate and use within 4-6 days, or freeze and use within a year.