PAIRING WINE AND PASTA
With all the snow we had this weekend we need more comfort food. But I think I’ve gained a few pounds from all those high calorie though very yummy comfort foods I’ve been eating.
So I decided to go a little lighter and make a light and easy pasta dish. I used fresh linguine and added baby spinach, artichoke hearts and olives dressed in a light lemon and wine sauce. It was really good but we couldn’t agree on which wine to drink.
We always ‘agree to disagree’ when it comes to choosing a wine to drink with our pasta.
I like trying different wines and my other half likes red wine with everything. Now, don’t get me wrong, my mantra is “if you like it, that’s all that matters!” and I’m o.k. with that, but the lemon and wine I used for the sauce called for a light wine, not grampy’s bold red.
When pairing wine and pasta choose a wine that will go with the sauce and not the pasta since the pasta is a basically neutral flavor (I’m not including ravioli, tortellini, or other types of stuffed pasta).
The basic wine pairing rules apply when pairing wine with any dish. Pairing regional wine with food from that area is always a good rule of thumb. Also, remember to match the weight of your food with the weight of your wine and keep in mind the flavors in both the food and the wine.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when choosing a wine for your pasta dish.
Hearty tomato based sauces with meat can handle a rich and robust red wine. Italian Barolo or a Sangiovese blend can stand up to this richer tomato sauce.
Cheese based sauces can be challenging to pair. Try to work with the flavors of the cheese in the sauce which can make a difference in the wine you choose. Depending on the cheeses, you might search for a white wine with good acidity; a Semillion, a favorite sparkling wine, or maybe a Prosecco.
Cream sauces are rich and will need a rich, full-bodied wine. The buttery flavors in an oaked Chardonnay can stand up to the rich sauce, or try a full-bodied Vermentino from Sardinia.
OIL BASED SAUCE
Oil based, light sauces need a lighter style wine. Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, even a light Pinot Grigio will work with this lighter style sauce.
Pesto sauce calls for a wine to match the basil. A Sauvignon Blanc with characteristic herbal, grassy flavors to match the herbaceous flavors in the pesto sauce.
Remember to keep in mind the flavors that stand out in the sauce and match like flavors when possible. And don’t forget “if you like it, that’s all that matters!”