Cue the Andrea Bocelli music because it’s time to talk about two of the most beautiful things in life: wine and pasta. Nothing has made a mark on Italian food culture around the world as much as this quintessential Italian staple. Check out these delicious pairings to help you make the most out of your meal.
Perfect Pasta Pairings
by Matthew Lorman
Cue the Andrea Bocelli music because it’s time to talk about two of the most beautiful things in life: wine and pasta. Nothing has made a mark on Italian food culture around the world as much as this quintessential Italian staple. The dazzling amount of pasta shapes, flavors, and textures are as numerous as the sauces and wines to accompany them. Whether you like your sauce red, creamy, or green, here are some delicious pairings to help you make the most out of your meal.
Layer upon layer of meat sauce, melted cheese, and perfectly thin sheets of pasta just screams out for a delicious wine to. Italian grandmothers guard their lasagna recipe like it’s the Trevi Fountain. After all, a great slice is worthy of national treasure status. In order to keep with tradition, Sangiovese is the perfect wine to accompany lasagna. It works great with tomato sauce and the meatiness of the dish. Sangiovese has enough acidity to cut the fat of melted ricotta and mozzarella, making you come back for the next bite. Check out a wide range of Sangiovese-based wines, such as Chianti, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, and Montalcino.
Aglio e Olio
At first the notion of algio e olio, which literally translated means “garlic and oil,” starts out simple enough. Heat up a pan, toss in some olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes, and then boom. You’ve got a sauce that is delicious, quick, and easy to prepare. However, don’t be fooled. Simplicity is key when it comes to pairing this dish as to not overcomplicate or overpower the pasta. This deliciously rich dish pairs well with white wines that are fuller-bodied with a generous amount of acidity to cleanse the palate. Try a fun Italian wine variety like Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Fiano, or Greco di Tufo for a white wine with some gusto.
As simple as pesto is, it’s bold with flavors of basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic. Pesto packs a perfect herbaceous punch that calls for wine that is simultaneously bold and delicate enough to stand up to its complexity, without overpowering it. To match basil’s aromatic notes, pair pesto with a wine that has herbaceous qualities like Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, or Vermentino.
This is the epitome of Italian comfort food. Crispy pancetta, eggs, parmesan cheese, and 10 minutes is all you need to get delicious pasta carbonara on the table. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t even need cream. Let me say that one more time for the people in the back row. You do not need cream! This dish is rich enough on its own. The unctuous sauce made creamy by the melted cheese and egg yolk is perfectly paired with a crisp white wine such as Gavi, Soave, or Pinot Grigio if sticking with the Italian theme. Take your wine pairings international and consider Chablis or Picpoul for a nice French complement. If you are really craving red wine, lighter-bodied options include Schiava or Valpolicella. These wines really complement the flavor of the crispy pancetta.
Macaroni and Cheese
Consider tailoring your wine selection to the type of cheese used in your macaroni and cheese recipe. For a classic cheddar-based mac and cheese, consider a fruit-forward Malbec from Argentina. The berry-like aromas and flavors make a nice contrast the sharp notes of the cheese. Are you stepping up your macaroni game and going for something fancy? Drizzle a little truffle oil over gouda macaroni and cheese and pair it with a bottle of Champagne. Sounds crazy, but trust me, it works.
There are endless possibilities when pairing wine with pasta. Did we miss one of your favorites? Tell us on Instagram (@DCanterwines) and share you go-to pasta and wine picks!