Dinner,  Pasta

A Halloween Dinner 7 Deadly Zins Pasta

7 Deadly Zins is my favorite Zinfandel wine. It’s a full bodied red which seems to surprise a lot of my friends as they normally know Zinfandel to be a blush or a White Zin.  And normally the reaction to a White Zin is that it’s sweet and cheap!  Red Zinfandel, and in particular, 7 Deadly Zins is a mix of grapes from seven vineyards.  Actually they state they use the grapes from the oldest vines of seven vineyards to produce a wine resulting in a blackberry/cherry, peppery and spice earthy blend.  The back label lists its Zins in the following amusing poem:

 I’m raging with ire, an ocean of fire,
My Wrath is the path to all I desire.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
I’m inflated with pride, near-bursting inside,
A self-centered repenter, Vanitys’ bride.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
I’m mired in mud, inert as a slug,
Sloth is the cloth that’s woven my rug.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
I eat day and night, consuming all in my sight,
A Glutton with nothing but a huge appetite.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
My will I ignore, my Envy’s a chore,
Over zealous and jealous, I want so much more.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
I’m ravenous to feast, an insatiable beast,
I concede to the Greed demanding release.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
I hunger for trust, my craving’s a must,
My sin is the Zin enslaving my Lust.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.

–       Kevin Phillips

I’ve always wanted to have a Halloween dinner party where everyone would bring a different “Halloween” wine to sample.  Vampire Wines has their Vampire and Dracula wines and Elk Creek Vineyard has their Ghostly Wine Chardonnay and Bone Dry Red Cabernet.  Honestly I don’t choose my wine based on the label but for Halloween it’s all for fun!

Since I wasn’t as familiar with those wines as I am with 7 Deadly Zins, I decided to use the wine I knew would be to my liking in this pasta.  I first heard of this pasta dish from Michael Chiarello and his Red Wine Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe.  Instead of the broccoli rabe, I chose to sauté chopped walnuts and a topping of gorgonzola cheese.  The blood red pasta is perfect for a Halloween dinner.  The taste will obviously follow along with the wine you select as the pasta simmers in the wine turning deep red and absorbing its flavor.  Truly a unique pasta dish, the walnuts and gorgonzola add crunch and a creamy bite.  Think wine…cheese…and nuts.

7 Deadly Zins Pasta

Recipe adapted from Michael Chiarello

1 lb. bucatini or spaghetti

1 bottle (750 ml) Zinfandel or a dry red wine of your choice

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chopped walnuts

¾ cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

In a large pot, boil the pasta in salted water for only 5 minutes.  Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water just in case you need it.  Return the empty pot to the stove.  Add the wine and sugar to the pasta pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and cook until reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes.  Add in the pasta and gently stir with tongs until well coated and simmer in the wine until most of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente about 4-5 minutes.

While the pasta cooks in the wine, heat a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil, reduce the heat to medium low and add the garlic, crushed red pepper, walnuts, salt and black pepper.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally; do not allow the garlic to burn.  Add ½ cup of reserved pasta water or more if needed and stir to combine.  Stir the pasta into the skillet, toss gently add in the gorgonzola cheese, plate and serve.  Makes about 4-6 servings.

I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.


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