Cooking With Red Wine
Cooking With Red Wine

Cooking With Wine Part 1: Red

October 14, 2014 -

For centuries, Italians have cooked with wine to enhance and accent the flavors of their favorite dishes. Now with Carrabba’s new Vino Italiano Menu, you can enjoy the rich flavors that this traditional Italian cooking technique brings out in new ways.

Like Italians, we believe cooking with wine is essential – it’s just what you do! You can determine the best wine to cook with by using the wine that you drink. So as a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.

Each wine adds a distinct depth of flavor. Red wines make dishes heartier, which is why they are great for sauces like Marinara. This sauce gets its name from mariners or fishermen who used to make it onboard ships as a cooking medium for seafood. We’ve listed our recipe for you below so grab your favorite bottle of red, and let’s get to cooking!

Makes about 1 quart

Carrabba's Calamari with Marinara Sauce

We serve our delicious calamari with our housemade marinara sauce.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 2 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped (This ingredient is optional. It’s great for extra flavor without a fishy taste)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup hearty red wine, such as Citra Montepulciano
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1.  Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes
  3. Add scallions, anchovies (if using), and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute
  4. Add the wine
  5. Pour tomatoes and their juices into a bowl, crush the tomatoes between your fingers, and pour the mixture into the saucepan
  6. Add the oregano, hot pepper flakes and pepper, and bring to a simmer
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low
  8. Simmer, stirring often, until the tomato juices have thickened and the sauce has reduced slightly, about 30 minutes

The sauce can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 2 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. Any questions? Feel free to comment below.

Looking for a recipe with white wine? Check out our post on our Lemon Butter Sauce.

Ciao ya’ll!