The Grapevine

Food and Wine Pairings – Pasta and Red, Pasta and White

June 28th, 2013

Admit it. Sometimes you decide what to eat based on what you’re in the mood to drink. Here are some suggestions for pasta dishes whether you’re in the mood for red or white. [level-members]

We can’t start anywhere but red wine and everyone’s favorite standby, red sauce. Chianti is a great choice. Brunello, Barolo, tough to go wrong here.

How about something a bit lighter, say, an uncooked, summery, tomato-based sauce? (Tomato, basil and mozzarella, perhaps, with some olive oil.) Again we’d stay close to home with something like a Valpolicella.

What if you’re baking that pasta – baked ziti, lasagna, stuffed shells? Well, it all depends on your sauces and stuffings. A lighter vegetarian take might call for a pinot. A heavier, intensely flavored meat dish would work with a good number of big Italian wines, or you can break with tradition and head for the big South American wines. The Argentines love their beef; a meat lasagna and a big Argentine red can be magic together.

On the much lighter side of things, how about whites? As we were discussing this post, someone suggested a crisp white to accompany Alfredo sauce. “Heresy!” I said at first, but thinking about it a bit more, I’m ready to try that combo. An oaky chard is probably exactly the wrong way to go, but a crisp, leaner white from France or New Zealand could be quite interesting.

Pinot Grigio deserves special mention of its own. It works well with lighter flavors. Pinot Grigio would pair nicely with the fresh tomato-basil sauce we started things out with if you’re in the mood for white rather than red. You could also pair it with a white clam sauce or a “frutti di mare” preparation.

Enjoy the weekend!