I just got back from the Food Wine Conference in Orlando and I am still in a food coma. The weekend was a whirlwind of food, drink and non-stop laughter. One of the event sponsors was CK Mondavi and I was blessed with the opportunity to be one of their brand ambassadors. If you know me, then you know how much that meant being that I was born and raised in Northern California. It is no secret that even after 13 years in Florida I am still incredibly homesick and one of the places I miss the most is wine country. I never miss a visit to my favorite wineries when in California and CK Mondavi has always been very special to me. Founded in 1943 by Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, along with their sons Robert and Peter, CK Mondavi wines are the first and only wines to be 100% Made in USA Certified. I have long been a fan of CK Mondavi not only for heir exceptional taste and quality, but for their value. While at the conference, I was able to try their Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Blonde Five, Scarlet Five and Moscato. While all are fantastic, my two favorites are their Pinot Grigio and Scarlet Five. This is the perfect post to get back to my #TracyTastesAmerica food tour and I am currently visiting……California.
As I was sitting in my hotel room Saturday night relaxing after an epic dinner paired with CK Mondavi Wines, I began to think of what I was going to make for dinner upon my return home the next night. Suddenly I had an idea. Lemon Spaghetti is one of my go-do dishes when I want pasta, especially in the spring time. Made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, Parmesan and basil, it is quick to throw together and pairs well with seafood.
I have been making this dish for about ten years after seeing it on an episode of Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals back in 2006. It is always a crowd pleaser and can be made in many variations. Sometimes I add prosciutto and asparagus or even shrimp or scallops. The options are truly endless. Anyway, after enjoying a night of wonderful wine selections from CK Mondavi, I had the idea of making drunken lemon spaghetti with their Pinot Grigio. I had a bottle chilling in my refrigerator, as I had bought it prior to the conference to enjoy upon my return home because everyone knows that when you return from a weekend of eating and drinking, you want to continue the fun at home.
If you are not familiar, drunken spaghetti is a fun spin on pasta and is typically done with red wine, thus yielding a nice purple colored pasta. It involves par boiling spaghetti for about 5 min and then adding it to a pot of red wine that has been reducing for a few minutes. You then let the pasta finish cooking until the wine has all been absorbed and then you can add anything you want. I love a simple dish of drunken spaghetti with pancetta and goat cheese, but you can get creative and have fun with it. I had never tried drunken spaghetti with white wine but figured it would be similar to making risotto with Pinot Grigio. I just had to give it a whirl. I tried a different method and instead of par boiling the pasta before adding the wine, I just went for it and used the wine right off the bat.
Since I had a 1.75 ml bottle of CK Mondavi Pinot Grigio, I used half of it for the spaghetti and saved the rest for me to enjoy with the spaghetti. I poured the wine into my large Le Cruset Dutch oven along with 3 cups of water and let it get almost to a boil. I then added the spaghetti and let it cook for about 8 minutes when it was al dente. While the wine was heating, I sauteed 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic with a tablespoon of red pepper flakes in extra virgin olive oil. I then added 3/4 cup of heavy cream, lemon juice and a ladle of the pasta wine/water and brought it to a boil. Next I added 1/2 cup of Parmesan and turned down the heat. After stirring to get a nice, even consistency, I drained any remaining liquid from the pasta and then added it to the pan with the cheese sauce and tossed until it was evenly coated. I added the rest of the Parmesan, freshly chopped Italian parsley and basil and tossed again. It was then ready to serve. I enjoyed my dish with, of course, a glass of CK Mondavi Pinot Grigio and some bread.
I really like how this turned out and boiling the spaghetti was a nice addition. If you have any tips or recommendations, I would love to hear your feedback. Next weekend I am going to try drunken spaghetti with a bottle of red from CK Mondavi and maybe some kale and sausage. If you are looking for a great line of wines that will tantalize your palate without breaking the bank, CK Mondavi is your answer. I was so blessed to be able to learn more about this fantastic winery at the Food Wine Conference and can’t wait to work with them more in the future. Cheers!
- 1 bottle (750 ml) of CK Mondavi Pinot Grigio
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (I used California Olive Ranch)
- 4 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I like it spicy you can use half the amount)
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup grated Pamigiano Reggiano
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Italian Parsley
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
- Pour your bottle of wine plus 3 cups of water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, salt it a tad and add your spaghetti.
- In a large, deep skillet over low heat, add your olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes.
- After the pasta has been cooking about 5 minutes, add the lemon juice, a ladle of the pasta wine/water and the heavy cream to the garlic and olive oil. Raise the heat so that the sauce begins to bubble.
- Drain the pasta once it is al dente. Add the lemon zest and half of the cheese to the cream sauce and season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta and toss so that it is evenly coated. Turn off the heat and let the pasta rest a minute to absorb the cream sauce. Toss with basil and parsley and serve. Use the remaining cheese to top each plate.