Are you looking for a simple, quick side dish that is full of flavor? Spaghetti Bordelaise is just the thing. Thin spaghetti tossed in a Creole Italian version of Bordelaise sauce, which derives its flavor from lots of butter and garlic with just the right amount of parsley, chives, herbs, and a splash of white wine. This dish can be ready in as little time as it takes to boil some thin spaghetti to al dente. Something this delicious, should not be this easy.
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New Orleans Bordelaise Sauce
This dish’s creation is credited to Mosca’s Restaurant. Established in 1946 in the community of Gretna across the river from New Orleans, this remote, low-key restaurant is recognized worldwide as an excellent example of Creole Italian cuisine. Mosca's reflects the regional foods of its founder, Provino Mosca’s Italian homeland, San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, filtered through a Creole lense. It is absolutely one of South Louisiana's most popular restaurants with tourists and locals alike.
A traditional Bordelaise Sauce is distinctively French. The traditional Italian version of this dish is Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, which translates to Spaghetti with garlic and oil. As with many traditional French and Italian dishes, once Creole and Cajun chefs adapted ingredients available in South Louisiana to traditional recipes and techniques, our local cuisines started to develop. This New Orleans Creole-Italian style Bordelaise Sauce is a far departure from the original classic French and Italian versions. The French version is a red wine sauce that usually includes marrow, while the New Orleans version adds butter and white pepper to a traditional Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. TMI? One taste and you’ll never think of that again!
Here’s What You Need
Here are some of the key ingredients for this recipe:
Here is some of the equipment I used to prepare this recipe:
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Here's What You Do
First…you have a beer. It’s the simple recipes that convince us that we can just wing it, but I’ve proven that wrong a few times. Even the simplest recipes benefit from mise en place and that starts by popping the cap off a beer, taking a sip, and reading the recipe all the way through. Learn what ingredients and equipment you will need and what you are going to do with each. The process is to gather and prepare all the ingredients and equipment so that all you have to do is assemble the recipe as you cook.
Mise en Place
Set aside enough pasta for four servings. This will be about 8 ounces (dry) and should be about 1 ¾” diameter in a circle made with your thumb and forefinger.
- Thinly slice the garlic, chop the chives and butter.
- Measure the remaining ingredients.
- Grate the parmesan cheese. (I use a microplane or a box grater)
- Combine the Herb and Spice Blend and place it in a small prep bowl.
Prepare the pasta
What happens in this step? We’ll boil the spaghetti according to the directions on the package to al dente. While it’s boiling, we will be making the sauce so that it all comes together at about the same time.
Boil a large stockpot of salted water, then cook the spaghetti to al dente according to the package direction. Check out the Hints and Tips below for more on al dente. Reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water.
Prepare the Sauce
What happens in this step? The sauce ingredients are simple to prepare and can be done while the pasta is cooking so that it all comes together fairly quickly.
In a large (12”) saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering. Add the garlic and saute until aromatic and starting to brown slightly about 2 to 3 minutes. Keep it moving so it does not burn.
Tip: This is an area where my recipe differs from Mosca's Spaghetti Bordelaise. One Creole modification of the French version is to remove the garlic as it starts to brown. When they set a platter of this in front of you at Mosca's it looks like the garlic has been removed before it browns. You can do it whichever way you like; remove the garlic before it browns, or leave it in and let it brown slightly (be careful not to let it burn!).
Add the Herb and Spice Blend and the white wine. Stir all the ingredients to combine. Continue to simmer until it is almost completely reduced.
Add the butter, chives, and parsley (reserve some parsley to garnish at the end) to the reduced wine. Stir and shake the pan to combine all the ingredients.
Combine pasta and sauce
What happens in this step? This is when we make it happen! There are a couple of ways to do this (see Hints and Tips), but mine is to take the cooked pasta directly out of the pasta water and add it to the sauce. Combine everything to coat the pasta with the butter sauce.
Once the butter has melted and all the ingredients are combined, grab a bunch of pasta right out of the water with a spaghetti fork or kitchen tongs. Let it drain over the pasta pot until it stops dripping, then add the pasta to the saute pan. Do this until all the pasta has been added, shaking and stirring the saute pan until the sauce is completely coating the pasta.
Tip: You can serve it directly from the saute pan or place the pasta on a serving platter or in a bowl.
Mix the spaghetti with the butter sauce thoroughly, adding a couple of tablespoons up to a ¼ cup of pasta water to help the sauce coat all of the pasta.
Stir some parmesan cheese into the pasta as you combine it with the sauce.
The pasta can be served right out of the saute pan, placed in a bowl, or served on a platter.
Top with parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of parsley. Serve immediately.
That's it. I told you it was simple.
Hints and Tips (FAQs)
We either had too much pasta or too little sauce, or both. While you’re adding the pasta to the sauce, pay attention to how it's mixing. If it looks like there isn’t quite enough sauce to cover all the pasta, don't use all the pasta. We want the butter sauce to cling to every strand of pasta. As you cook this more often, you will get the feel for the proper amount of sauce and pasta for you and your family.
Leftovers will be fine for 3 to 5 days in the fridge if kept in an airtight container. You can also freeze leftover Spaghetti Bordelaise for up to 3 months, also in an airtight container. The butter sauce may have a tendency to separate but can be repaired while reheating. Defrost frozen Spaghetti Bordelaise in the fridge overnight. To reheat, place a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the defrosted Spaghetti Bordelaise, and shake the pan until heated all the way through. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if the sauce starts to separate, stir and shake the pan until the sauce reconstitutes.
Sure, if you want to. My personal preference is thin spaghetti, but regular spaghetti works fine and I have seen recipes with Angel Hair many times. You want something that is good with sauces, so a rotini, fettuccine, or linguine would work well.
When talking about cooked pasta, al dente is an Italian term that means “to the tooth.” Pasta properly cooked to al dente will be tender but firm and chewy and have a bit of a bite. The best way to test the pasta for doneness is to taste it. Follow the directions on the package and about a minute or two before it should be ready, taste it. If it's too hard for your liking, it’s not done. If it's too soft and mushy, it's overdone.
There are a couple of ways. The way I do it is to use a spaghetti fork and move the pasta from the cooking water directly to the sauce. Make sure to let the pasta drain before adding to the sauce. Another way is to drain the cooked pasta through a colander. Don't rinse the pasta, but do reserve about ¼ cup of the cooking water. Now you can put the cooked pasta onto a platter or a bowl and add the sauce to it, or go right into the sauce in the saute pan.
Lay some Spaghetti Bordelaise next to any of these Main Dishes and you will have some kind of feast!!
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Yeah You Right!
Here's What You Need
- 8 ounces Thin Spaghetti for four
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic sliced or chopped finely
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup chives
- ¼ cup parsley
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese Plus some for top
Herb and Spice Blend
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon basil
- ⅛ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon White Pepper
Here's What You Do
- Prepare spaghetti to al dente; reserve ¼ cup pasta water.
- In a large (12”) saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
- Add the garlic and saute until aromatic and starting to brown slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the Herb and Spice Blend and the white wine.
- Continue to simmer until almost completely reduced.
- Add the butter, chives and parsley to the saute pan.
- When butter has melted, add the cooked pasta and a couple of tablespoons of pasta water to the saute pan and toss.
- Top with parmesan cheese and parsley.