Pasta With White Wine Sauce

December 22, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland, prop styling by Anne Eastman, food styling by Lauren Lapenna
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This simple, bright, yet comforting sauce features a couple of perks, the best being you can finish the bottle of white wine you use as you’re enjoying your dinner. I like an easy-to-drink, dry white wine like Pinot Grigio, but you can also use Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay for the best results here. You just don’t want to use a wine that’s too sweet and cloying. It’ll be the type of wine where, after you take the first sip, you smack your lips together and think, Ahh, how crisp! Whatever wine you choose, the rest of the ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry or fridge. You can use this sauce for chicken, scallops, or shrimp, but we like it with pasta since cooking pasta leaves you with one magic ingredient: that starchy pasta liquid that’s the key to many delicious sauces. Keep a measuring cup right next to the pot as you’re cooking so you don’t forget to scoop some out before draining. I for one have done it before and felt super-sad about myself afterward.

And you’ll love this dish for its versatility. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with too much garlic, but definitely adjust to your own tastes. Got a shallot to use up? Finely chop and add with the garlic. Same goes for sliced mushrooms. Any bright, fresh herb can be thrown into the mix as well, or greens like spinach or arugula. Adjust the red pepper if you want a little more of a kick, and if you’re feeling particularly indulgent, feel free to stir in some heavy cream for a heartier sauce. Use whatever you need to and taste as you go. —Jill Baughman

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound long pasta
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 ounces finely grated Parmesan (about ⅔ cup), plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe
  1. In a large pot of generously salted boiling water, cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until very al dente (the pasta will continue to cook in the sauce). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid before draining.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-low heat (you can also use a Dutch oven or another large pot if you don’t think all the pasta will fit), melt the butter and combine with the oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, until softened and fragrant. Increase the heat to medium, add the wine, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 7 minutes, until you can no longer smell the alcohol and the liquid has slightly reduced. Stir in the lemon juice and red pepper flakes, if using.
  3. Transfer the pasta and ½ cup of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to the skillet. Gradually add the Parmesan, a handful at a time, then the parsley, all while tossing; season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, tossing frequently, for about 2 minutes, until all of the cheese is melted and heated through. Taste and season with more salt, black pepper, and/or lemon juice. Add more pasta cooking liquid as needed, tossing, until a smooth, glossy sauce forms.
  4. Divide the pasta among plates or bowls. Top with more grated Parmesan before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sandy Castle
    Sandy Castle
  • FrugalCat

3 Reviews

Sandy C. January 7, 2022
Delicious! I confess I forgot to reserve the pasta sauce so I substituted chicken broth. I added grilled chicken and it was perfect!
Sandy C. January 7, 2022
Pasta water 🤦‍♀️
FrugalCat December 25, 2021
I halved the recipe and used one of those 187 ml bottles of wine (from a 4 pack) as I am not a big wine drinker. The pasta- ziti (I don't twirl). Served this with garlic bread, turkey meatballs and sauteed spinach.