Pantry/Freezer Spaghetti with Unti Sangiovese

Pantry/Freezer Spaghetti with Unti Vineyards Sangiovese
In keeping with the spirit of #stayhome, I’m sharing some easy recipes which hopefully won’t require a separate trip to the grocery, or at least can be accommodated in your once a week trip. In cooler weather, spaghetti is one of our easy weeknight meals. Julie is especially fond of Italian-American style red sauce, so that’s often our choice. Sure, you can use one of the many jar sauces, but it’s super easy to make your own. Once you have made your own sauce, you’ll never go back!

Under normal circumstances, I’d run to the store if I were out of one of the fresh herbs I like to use to flavor the sauce. Of course, there’s no garden to rely on in Minnesota in March. This time though, I decided to only use items we already had in the pantry, freezer, or fridge.

Unti Vineyards
We have been fans of Unti Vineyards ever since our first visit to Sonoma, back in 2012. Unti is family owned, 100% estate winery. They farm 60 acres in a thoughtfully sustainable way with only organic material used and no herbicides or pesticides. They have carefully chosen grapes suited to the climate, which happen to be grapes we think of as Southern Rhone and Italian. Their wines are made in a low intervention way, emphasizing lively acidity and little flavoring from new oak. When they suggest laying a wine down for a few years, I can attest that you will be rewarded by doing so.

Unti Vineyards Sangiovese 2011 ($40 from the winery, closest current wine here) 13.9% abv
Eye: Clear, medium garnet
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity. Aromas of dried cherries, dried cranberries, strawberries. Secondary aromas of a touch of vanilla with rosemary. Tertiary aromas of leather, cedar,
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity flavors which follow the aromas closely. Medium+ acidity, medium+ silky, fully resolved tannins. Gentle creamy texture with medium body and medium alcohol. Medium+ finish.
Conclusions: An outstanding wine drinking at its’ peak. The aromas and flavors are both generous and complex with good balance from underlying structure especially from the tannins. Silky smooth but still lively, this wine is a pleasure either with or without food. At its’ peak, not suitable for more aging. Enjoy it now.

Pantry/Freezer Spaghetti

Under normal circumstances, I’d run to the store for some fresh herbs, but with #stayhome, I decided to limit myself to ingredients on hand. A couple notes: I’m not wild about dried basil, as it has much stronger anise aroma and flavor, so don’t go crazy with it. Dried oregano was fine, and similar to fresh. Fennel seeds are a nice addition, but they can easily dominate the entire dish, proceed with caution! Add in other items as you like. I like mushrooms and had some in the fridge. We also regularly add sliced olives.


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 28 oz. can of Muir Glen Organic tomatoes, version depends on how chunky you like your sauce
  • 1 lb. ground pork, or Italian sausage
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • Optional – 8 oz. sliced mushrooms of any type, sauteed in butter or olive oil
  • 8 oz. high quality dry spaghetti noodles


  • Brown the ground pork or Italian sausage in a skillet, pouring off any fat.
  • Saute mushrooms slowly in a skillet and set aside
  • In a medium pot, saute the diced onions over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and saute briefly, just until aromatic
  • Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano and fennel. Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce to simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  • Add the pork and mushrooms and heat through while the water boils for the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta in salted boiling water to the directions. Reserve a bit of pasta water to add to the finished dish if needed.
  • Enjoy!


2 Responses to “Pantry/Freezer Spaghetti with Unti Sangiovese”
  1. Looks like a perfect Friday night treat. I’ve enjoyed Unti wines but never had the Sangiovese; must change that!

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