Spaghetti All’Ubriaco #SundaySupper

Spaghetti All'ubriaco | www.kimchimom.comHave you ever had one of those unforgettable dinners?

Once upon a time, we were new parents and we had a brand new little baby. We decided early on that we weren’t going to become one of “those” parents whose baby dictated the family plans. We were living in San Francisco at the time and made frequent day trips up to wine country as a couple. It was an easy drive up. Maybe we’d visit a winery or two and end the outing with a nice leisurely dinner. There was a roadside restaurant on the main highway that we frequented that was known for their amazing unpretentious Italian food in a very unassuming building.

Our son joined us at the end of October and after a couple of months, we felt we were comfortable to take him out. We thought, “Wouldn’t be it cool to go up to Sonoma Valley for Christmas?” We packed up our son and loaded up our tiny Honda Civic with blankets, two changes of clothing, stroller, toys, bottles, and diapers, diapers, diapers. It was a usual gorgeous sunny day in the Bay Area and we were ready to hit the road with our son clad in his Ralph Lauren onesie and us in our chunky cozy sweaters.

The car ride was eventless and our son dozed off on our way up. We visited one venue where a huge Christmas tree lit up the lobby. Perfect setting for our first family portrait for our Christmas card. It was relatively uncrowded since we were visiting during the week and the staff was particularly helpful. We fed the little babe when he got a little fussy and gave him a toy when he got fidgety. Easy breezy.

Chunky sweaters and all!

We were so amazed at how relaxed this little day trip was going. It was getting close to dinner time, our son had a full belly, was still docile, and so we figured we could stop at our favorite restaurant on the way home. I couldn’t wait for a heaping plate of pasta to fill my belly. We would be quick and back on the road, and the drive home would lull our dear little son to sleep. Easy breezy.

As soon as we walked into the surprisingly packed restaurant, the din of the diners or the bright lights invoked squirminess with our son. I felt a tinge of anxiety –  the first that day. It was the type of eatery where we ordered at the counter and they served the order at the table. We were rolling the stroller back and forth as we waited in line. The cries from our son were crescendo-ing with every move. We scooped him out and did the combo side-to-side bob to comfort him. And as a new self-conscious anxious parent, we were trying to silently apologize to every stranger with our eyes and a shrug, yearning for empathy.

My husband and I finally got our order in, found a table in a corner (thank goodness), and sat down. We looked at each other, relieved. Our son was still fussing, but nothing a little rocking in the stroller couldn’t fix. And as quickly as we sat down, our steaming plates of pasta floated right in front of us. Whew, we made it.

Before the meltdown…

Cue the crash of the cymbals. Our tiny little son couldn’t take it anymore and turned up the volume to fully express his exasperation and exhaustion. And this is when we learned how to dine with infants. I deserted my husband at the table and took our screaming son outside and rocked him in the cool evening air until he quieted down. I returned to our table. I inhaled a few forkfuls of the now cold pasta with one eye on our son and literally sitting at the edge of my seat. One cry and my husband then scooped him up and took him outside. I took this chance to eat in peace for a luxurious 2 minutes, then packed up the stroller and didn’t even bother to take the leftovers. The last 20 minutes was all that I could handle for that evening.

And as predicted, our son promptly fell asleep as soon as we all got into the car.

 Gallo family logo

Here is the dish I left behind that evening. It is one of my favorite pasta dishes and the Gallo Family Merlot works perfectly for this dish. Spaghetti All’Ubriaco translates to “drunken pasta” in Italian, but don’t worry the alcohol is cooked off and the pasta is left with a beautiful jewel tone hue and subtle flavors. Great on its own or served as a side dish to steak.

Spaghetti All'ubriaco |

Spaghetti All'Ubriaco #SundaySupper
A medium-bodied wine works perfectly for this dish! Recipe Adapted from serious eats.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2-3
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 bottle of Gallo Family Merlot
  • 8 oz. thick spaghetti or linguine (dried pasta)
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, or two small cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. finely diced pancetta
  • Dried red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to serve
  1. Bring the water and wine to boil. Drop in the pasta and cook to 2 minutes less than required on the package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over low to medium-low heat. Add the butter, olive oil, garlic, and pancetta. Keep the heat low to prevent scorching. Add red pepper flakes if desired.
  3. When the pasta is ready, transfer the pasta to the skillet with a pair of tongs. Raise the heat of the skillet to medium. With a ladle, add up to ½ cup of the reserved pasta water/wine to the skillet to create a little sauce.
  4. Serve pasta in warmed pasta bowls. Garnish with cheese.
  5. Enjoy in peace.

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Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family



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  • Renee Dobbs

    Of course the little ones don’t settle down at the restaurant and wait to sleep in the car. At least you did have a wonderful trip and all the memories with it to treasure.

  • Liz

    Ooh, drunken pasta sounds terrific!!! And I definitely remember those days x 3. Now when we take our kids out to dinner, they order the most expensive dishes on the menu! But at least they don[‘t scream 😉

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  • Family Foodie

    Love all the pics in this post. What wonderful memories!!

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  • Alice Choi

    love this post!! Ah, how I miss wine country and SF!!! re: the meltdown, so many of us parents can relate. . but hey, if you never tried taking him out, you never would have known right?! so I have to ask, with #2, how soon did you take her out after she was born? It’s so sad but yeah, unless it’s a total family friendly restaurant, I don’t do it. . OR if it’s just me and madeline for lunch, I can usually swing it. . but she’s older now. . anyway. . LOVE this pasta!!! omg, totally trying this!!! maybe next week when I’m back home!! love this!

    • kimchi_mom

      We went out with the second when she was an infant, but as soon as she was more active, we dialed it back. I started this blog soon after she was born so I was back in the kitchen!

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  • Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious

    You took me right back to attempted meals out with my first. With the second, we didn’t even try, thus the 10-year dry spell in which we NEVER went out! I must try your pasta. Love the technique!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Dorothy! Yes, we didn’t go at all with the second. We did a lot of takeout!

  • Katie

    Oh my gosh, this pasta has the most beautiful color! I love the simplicity…and I’d eat it alone…but love the idea of pairing it with meat as well!

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  • Wendy

    This is such a gorgeous spaghetti dish…love that deep purple color!

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  • Samantha Ferraro

    Oh wine country..yes!! And wine and water to boil pasta..say whhaaa??? Umm..genius!! Happy #SundaySupper :)

  • Cindys Recipes

    I’ve been in similar situations with my daughter and more recent with the grandkids but being a food blogger you learn to like cold spaghetti, right? lol

  • Bobbi Renee Hass-Burleson

    You just gave me flashbacks of my daughter in just about that same scenario. She is now 22 and I can eat in peace :) I can’t wait to make this pasta too!!

  • Sarah R

    Yum! My family would adore you

  • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons

    Oh my gosh. I’m sure every parent can relate, and as somebody who isn’t yet a parent…well, I can’t say I’m looking forward to these experiences, but I’m sure they’re inevitable.

    I’ve never tried Spaghetti All’Ubriaco, but I’m loving that a few good, simple ingredients can come together into something like this!

  • cupcakekalechip

    Haha, we have tried bringing our kids out to eat from the start, Sometimes it does well, sometimes it doesn’t. This pasta is amazing!

  • Melanie Bauer

    It made me anxious just reading your story – how do babies hold that much power?! :)

  • Courtney @ Neighborfood

    This seems like a parent’s rite of passage. I’m not a parent yet, but just so you know, I’m always sending empathetic looks the way of the couple whose baby is wailing. Y’all are brave! This pasta has such an incredible color. I’ve never seen anything like it before but now I want it!

  • Shaina Wizov

    That pasta looks absolutely amazing. Definitely have to try this recipe!

  • Constance

    SO funny!! We all have grand ideas of what kind of parent we are going to be – making “rules” ahead of time – and then the kids come 😉 GREAT story and recipe!

  • Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere

    This pasta looks fantastic! Love the color from the wine!

  • Nancy

    Lol, I think you just described an experience that every parent has had, Ames! I love the photos you included in this post – you guys looked adorable! A few months ago, Tony ‘n I were eating at a casual Hong Kong style cafe and a young couple sat down next to us with a baby. They kept apologizing to us every time the baby started crying or yelling but we told them not to sweat it. It wasn’t a big deal at all. But I can still imagine the anxiety they felt, thinking that their baby was bothering everyone else. I love that you made this incredible dish based on that memory.

  • Alida

    Oh man…I thought you were all good and then the cymbals!! lol :) Your little guy sure is adorable. And your pasta looks fantastic too!

    • kimchi_mom

      My little guy is no longer little, but I remember this day like it was yesterday!

  • Judy

    Definitely been there…. Life really changed for us after the baby, but in a good way, now that I look at my life. Your photos are so adorable, and pasta is gorgeous and so tempting. Hope all is well. Cheers!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Judy! I hope you are well!

  • Rob Asbury

    First–is the hashtag really neccesary
    2nd you are an idiot–no one cares about your rugrat

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