Red, white, or sparkling—we all love a good bottle of wine. But what do you do when you just can’t seem to finish the last dregs of your favorite bottle? Perhaps you partied too hard and can’t stand to think about drinking the rest of an opened bottle in the refrigerator. While the bottle may look half empty, it’s actually half full. Here are six ways to make the most of Wine Wednesday’s leftovers.
1. Drunken Pasta
This pasta spends half the time boiling in water and the rest soaking in leftover red wine—because after one sip you decided vodka tastes better. Sauté olive oil, garlic, and a few pinches of chili pepper in a pan. Once the pasta has boiled in water for three minutes, drain it and add it to the oil mixture with red wine. Toss in the pan for another two minutes, or until the red wine has been absorbed. Serve and sprinkle with a grated cheese like Pecorino Romano.
2. Bath Soaks
Popped a few (or too many) bottles with friends last night? If you wake up to half-full bottles of red scattered around your apartment, kick that hangover cure into high gear with a relaxing wine bath. Fill your tub and pour a generous cup of wine into the water, then sit back and try to remember what went down last night. Red wine’s restorative properties help to regenerate skin cells, with resveratrol and tartaric acid that exfoliate and disinfect your skin. The result: a softer and smoother complexion, and hopefully a much-reduced wine headache.
3. Tomato Sauce
Canned tomato sauce is a staple in most college students’ kitchens, so why not spice things up a bit with a few spoonfuls of your favorite wine? It’s a cheap and easy way to enhance a basic sauce, and both red and white add flavor and complexity to that Prego you bought at Tops. Take it up a notch and toss a few dashes into tomato soup as well.
4. Ice Cubes
In the wine world, adding ice cubes to your glass is considered a heinous crime, as they will most certainly melt and water down the flavor of your wine. Preserve the body and balance of your drink by freezing wine in an ice tray. Add the cubes to your drink once it’s in the glass, or save them for later in a freezer bag and pop them in homemade soups for a little flare. A fan of sangria? A tray of frozen wine cubes will keep fruity homemade concoctions chilled on a warm day.
5. Risotto & Rice
Rice and risotto are the foundation of many meals in most people’s homes, but they can get a bit dull. The next time you prepare either, put a fun twist on these traditional carbs by adding a tablespoon or two of white wine to the pot. Paella also tastes great with a little splash of vino.
6. Soups & Stews
Don’t stop at tomato purées—wine also complements the flavors of soups and stews. Generally speaking, white or sparkling wines mix best with creamy or clear broths, such as chowder and chicken noodle soup. Red wines pair best with tomato-based soups, so add them to chili or a beef-based stew. This idea is great for days when you feel like death—but that’s only because you didn’t stop after the third, fourth, or fifth glass of wine last night.