Leftover Wine Ragu

By: Kourtney Paranteau • December 15, 2021

Leftover Wine Ragu

If leftover wine is a unique concept for you (it is for me, too) this recipe might be enough to change your mind. All you’ve got to do is save a cup of day-old red wine and let its rich, complex profile meld seamlessly into a cheesy, creamy, can’t-stop-until-the-bowl’s-empty ragu pasta dish. This one in particular gets an extra kick from aromatic Calabrian chili powder.

Serving size: Serves 4


  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • ½ lb. ground veal

  • 1 packed Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped

  • ½ cup packed fresh basil, chopped

  • 3 tsp. Calabrian chili powders

  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste

  • 1 cup day-old red wine

  • 1 cup beef stock

  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can crushed tomatoes

  • ½ cup heavy cream (room temperature)

  • 1 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish

  • 1 lb. fresh rigatoni noodles (mine are from Pastaworks at Providore)


Mise En Place

Heat butter in a large Dutch oven and melt half of your butter over medium heat. Once melted, cook fennel and garlic for four minutes or until fragrant and transparent. Add both carrots and celery and continue to cook over medium heat for another five minutes.

Crumble the veal into the base of your pot and season with oregano, basil, Calabrian chili, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to further break up the meat and cook until browned (anywhere between five–seven minutes).

Once cooked through, drizzle wine, broth and crushed tomatoes over your ragu and increase the heat to medium-high. Allow the stew to come to a boil before reducing the heat to a simmer and stew over low heat for up to two hours, so the flavors can meld. In the meantime, bring six quarts of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta for three minutes before draining into a colander (saving ½ cup of pasta water) and running under cold water.

Back in your Dutch oven, pour heavy cream and sprinkle parmesan into your sauce and remove from heat. In a large saucepan, melt remaining butter over medium heat and mix 2 cups of your ragu sauce with your drained rigatoni noodles and pasta water, cooking until pasta water reduces into the sauce.

Toss pasta in sauce (adding more if necessary) and distribute evenly in four bowls and garnish with parmesan and torn basil leaves. One bite and you’ll start saving a cup of wine every time you uncork a new bottle. Trust me on this one.

Ragu Plated

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