Home / Pasta Recipes / Spicy Zinfandel Spaghetti Recipe {Pasta All’Ubriaco}

Spicy Zinfandel Spaghetti Recipe {Pasta All’Ubriaco}

This Zinfandel spaghetti recipe is an absolute revelation – surprisingly simple, yet packed to the brim with bold, delicious flavors.The Zinfandel creates a sauce that’s both fruity and a bit tart. Mustard greens are pleasantly peppery, a sprinkle of Parmesan ties it all together, and red pepper flakes give it a cozy warmth.

A bowl of zinfandel spaghetti with a fork in the bowl.

Oh pasta, how I love you so. I will never tire of having tomato mushroom spaghetti or pesto artichoke asparagus pasta for dinner. Of course, I can always add one more to the rotation, like this luscious red wine pasta with the spicy kick of red chile flakes and wilted mustard greens.

Long, long ago I was a production assistant on the Food Network show, Easy Entertaining with Michael ChiarelloThis was far from a glamorous job—I was more schlep horse than superstar—but it is one I will always remember fondly.

Primarily because it was on this set where I met my dearest friend. We spent the heinously long hours bantering back and forth on walkie-talkies and bonded over our mutual love for really dumb movies.

I also cherish this job for the many stellar recipes I picked up while working there. One of my absolute favorites is Michael’s take on red wine spaghetti. When he first brought up this Pasta All’Ubriaco dish, I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical. Cooking pasta in red wine? Broccoli rabe? It all sounded a bit… unusual. But, as always, he was right.

In the original recipe, he used broccoli rabe (rapini). While traditional recipes don’t use any greens at all, I find mustard greens add a lovely, spicy complexity. Their slight bitterness balances the sweetness from the Zinfandel perfectly.

Feel free to experiment with kale or even collard greens! I’ve tried all those variations, and they each add something unique to the dish. That’s the beauty of a recipe like this – it’s a starting point for your own culinary discoveries!

Are you ready to shake up your pasta routine?

What is Zinfandel Spaghetti (Pasta All’Ubriaco)?

“All’Ubriaco” (pronounced al-oo-bree-AH-ko) means “drunken” in Italian, and that’s precisely what this dish is about. The pasta cooks directly in a bath of red wine, becoming deeply infused with that rich wine flavor. You may also see it called spaghetti ubriachi.

Why You’ll Love This Dish

A bowl of spaghetti in red wine sauce with mustard greens.
  • Adventurous but easy: Don’t be fooled by the exotic name, this red wine pasta is remarkably straightforward. It proves that delicious, unique meals can be born from the simplest techniques.
  • Surprisingly quick: This Zinfandel spaghetti comes together in about the same time as regular pasta. Perfect for a weeknight when you crave something a little out of the ordinary!
  • Only 9 ingredients: Nothing fancy here, just some pasta, a good bottle of wine and a few other basic ingredients that can be found at any grocery store.


All the ingredients to make zinfandel spaghetti including zinfandel and spaghetti and more.
  • Mustard greens. Totally optional but I love the color and pleasant spicy bitterness they add to the dish.
  • 1 pound spaghetti. Or your favorite long noodles. Bucatini, linguine, or fettuccine would also work.
  • Zinfandel. You will need 1 bottle of red wine. It seems like a lot but it cooks down to make a rich, glossy sauce.
  • Sugar. Just a little to balance out the tannins from the wine and the bitterness of the greens.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. I like to use California olive oil simply because it tends to be fresher than imported olive oils.
  • Garlic cloves. Slice these thin before beginning so the whole dish is done at the same time.
  • Red Chile flakes. I always use Calabrian pepperocini. We’re big fans of Tutto Calabria brand. Of course you can omit them or use more depending on how spicy you like things.
  • Parmesan cheese. This is optional. You can leave it out for a vegan dish.
  • Kosher salt. For seasoning the pasta water and the rest of the dish. I always use Morton kosher salt unless otherwise specified.

How To Make This Recipe

step one

Blanch the greens. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add mustard greens and cook until wilted 1-2 minutes. Remove from the water with kitchen tongs and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet to cool. Once cool, chop into bite-sized pieces.

Mustard greens on a cutting board being chopped

step two

Par-cook the spaghetti. Return the water in the pot to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook 4 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain pasta through a large colander and return the empty pot to the stove.

Spaghetti draining in a colander in the sink.

step three

Make the pasta sauce. Add wine and sugar to the pot. Bring the wine mixture to a boil over medium heat and reduce by half, about 8-10 minutes. Add the pasta to the red wine sauce and gently stir to break up any strands. Continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente.

spaghetti being cooked in zinfandel sauce

step four

Sauté the mustard greens. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced cloves garlic, greens, and chile flakes. Season with a large pinch of salt and cook until the garlic is golden.

garlic and mustard greens being cooked in a skillet

step five

Finish the spaghetti. The best way to finish the dish is to toss the greens with the spaghetti in the pot, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid if it looks too dry. Taste and add more olive oil, and salt, as needed.

spaghetti being stirred with red wine sauce and mustard greens.

step six

Serve. Divide the Zinfandel spaghetti between bowls, top with grated parmesan if you’d like and serve!

Zinfandel spaghetti in a bowl on a checkered tablecloth

What is the best Zinfandel to use?

A forkful of pasta topped with parmesan

We are using Zinfandel because that is what Michael Chiarello used in his original recipe as a nod to California wine country.

I prefer a bold, jammy Zinfandel for this recipe. It stands up to the assertive flavors of the mustard greens and creates a wonderful depth in the sauce. A few California Zins I love for this dish include Frog’s Leap or Ridge.

You can use other red wine instead of Zinfandel if you prefer. Basically any good wine you enjoy drinking will work. Try Cabernet Sauvignon or a variety from Italy like Chianti Classico, Valpolicella wine, or my favorite Italian varietal, Nero D’avola.

✨ Need a side dish? Serve this Zinfandel spaghetti with my roasted Brussels sprouts tossed with parmesan. ✨

Top 5 Most Popular Pasta Dishes

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  5. Pasta with Eggplant Bolognese

I Can’t Wait For You To Try This Pasta!

Its complex flavor makes it a perfect dinner party dish but it is simple enough for any weeknight. When you try it, let me know how it went! Share a photo and tag me on Instagram using @katesbestrecipes so that I can see. Or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating)! Also, sign up for my weekly recipe newsletter so you never miss a thing.

A forkful of pasta topped with parmesan


Author: Kate
This Zinfandel spaghetti recipe is an absolute revelation – surprisingly simple, yet packed to the brim with bold, delicious flavors.The Zinfandel creates a sauce that's both fruity and a bit peppery. Mustard greens add a pleasant bitterness, a sprinkle of Parmesan ties it all together, and a touch of red pepper flakes gives it a cozy warmth.
Adapted from Michael Chiarello's Bottega Cookbook
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings



  • Bring a large pot of heavily salted (about 2 tablespoons) water to a boil. Add the 2 bunches mustard greens and cook until just wilted (about 1 minute). Transfer with kitchen tongs to a baking sheet and spread into a single layer to cool. Chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  • Return water in the pot to a boil, add the 1 pound spaghetti. Cook 4 minutes (pasta will not be cooked all the way, it will finish cooking in the wine). Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain pasta through a colander and return empty pot to stove.
  • Add the bottle of wine and 1 tablespoon sugar to pot, bring to a boil and reduce by half, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the pasta and gently stir with tongs to break apart the strands. Boil over high heat until most of the liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, about another 2-3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and season with 1 teaspoon salt. Add the mustard greens and 1 teaspoon pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally until greens are coated in oil and garlic is golden. Add half of the reserved water and stir to combine.
  • Add mustard greens mixture to the pasta and toss gently. Add more of the pasta water if spaghetti is too dry. Serve with cheese and more red chile flakes, if desired.


  1. The greens: If you aren’t a fan of mustard greens, swap for rapini, kale, or collard greens. 
  2. Serving suggestions: I love serving this with a simple arugula salad dressed with a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and good olive oil.
  3. The wine: Don’t be afraid to use an everyday Zinfandel that you enjoy drinking – if it’s good enough for sipping, it’s good enough for your sauce.
  4. Cheese: Don’t skip the Parmesan! A generous dusting brings all the flavors together.


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