Old wine in new pasta ...white cheese sauce with a dash of red wine

It's that time of the year. The time to celebrate. To feel merry. To go out and party. To be with friends. Or to have friends over.

It's possible that some of your guests would have gifted you bottles of wine if you host a party. And, horror of horrors, some of these bottled might be opened and left unfinished. Wine doesn't last for more than a couple of days once opened. So what do you do with the remaining wine? What if you can't finish it?

You could make a red wine sauce with it. Or even use red wine in a simple white cheese sauce. I don't know if this would make puritans want to roast me in the oven for suggesting this. But we did get a nice spring in our white sauce when we added red wine (!) to it on Saturday.

Here's what I did. I boiled 150 g of penne and set it aside. Then I dissolved a table spoon of corn flour in a glass of milk and kept it aside to make the sauce.

After this I heated some olive oil in a pan. I then sauteed a tablespoon of chopped garlic pods in it (garlic is the key to 'Italian' cuisine the way we see it). I then added half a finely chopped tomato and sauteed it. When it became a bit soft I added two Amul cheese cubes after slicing them into slivers. This began to melt to form the cheese base. Slicing the cheese versus grating leaves bites of cheese which adds to the the final texture.

I then added 250 g of finely chopped chicken sausages to it and stirred everything in the pan. Chicken is said to be healthier though Chef Max says that people would laugh uncontrollably and might put you in a straight jacket if you mention 'chicken' sausages in Italy.

The milk and corn flour mixture went in next. I let this boil and then let it simmer till the sauce thickened.

I then added half a glass of red wine (Sula Zinfadel, anything could do though) and saw the sauce turn a faint purple...more creamish actually.

The boiled pasta went in next. I added a tablespoon of salt and gently stirred the dish. I topped it with a pinch of dried Oregano and crushed pepper to season it. I plated it with a bit of crumbled Cheddar on the top.
I didn't take any pictures as I thought it looked like any of the earlier pastas in white sauce.

But it tasted different. It had a nice, wholesome warm taste from the marriage of milk and cheese. The wine gave a slight sweet and sour relief to the thicker taste of the sauce. In fact it added a sort of light zing to the dish. The dish tasted very fresh and playful.

A bit like a granny enjoying Christmas with the family along with a teeny weeny bit of Christmas Sherry.