New & Inspired Recipes from Italy with Olive Oil

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Recipe for Pasta Cooked in White Wine

Pasta alla Deficeira

Serves 4

Traditionally, this dish was prepared at the height of the oil-pressing season, offered by the olive growers as a gesture of celebration to those who helped with the harvest. The name of the dish is from the Liguria dialect for olive press, deficeira, and, fittingly, it’s served with olive oil; a nice choice is the delicate, fruity variety made from the tiny taggiasca olives of Liguria. Olive oil takes center stage here, and it’s added off the heat, so be sure to pick a good quality oil.

Cooking pasta in wine instead of water creates an amazingly aromatic sauce. The flavor of the wine really stands out, so be sure to pick one with pronounced fruity flavor and crisp acidity like Soave or pinot grigio.


– 1 (750-ml) bottle dry, fruity white wine
– 1 bay leaf
– 3/4 pound penne or any short tube pasta, preferably Felicetti or Garofalo brands
– Salt and pepper
– Olive oil, preferably made with taggiasca olives
– Crescenza or any aged cheese


In a large saucepan, bring the wine and bay leaf to a boil. Add the pasta, lower the heat to a low boil, and cook, loosely covered, until the wine is absorbed and the pasta al dente, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve topped with grated or shaved cheese.

Region: Liguria

In several regions, Italians add a splash of wine, instead of sauce, to cooked pasta. Local farmers even enjoy a sort of liquid pasta drink in the winter as a pick-me-up made from the hot pasta cooking water mixed with red wine and generous amounts of black or red crushed pepper. In Piedmont and Emilia Romagna, it’s common, especially for the older generations, to top anolini or small ravioli with red wine.

In Molise they make a simple pasta soup called scattone, where the broth is just the pasta’s cooking water seasoned with red wine and pepper. A fabulous medieval festival called Sagra dello Scattone is dedicated to this centuries-old dish, held each year in August in the Molise towns of Torella del Sannio and Bagnoli del Trigno.

Recipe from “Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy” by Francine Segan

New & Inspired Recipes from Italy with Olive Oil, 5.7 out of 10 based on 14 ratings

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