Wine Pairing Tips for Pasta Lovers
Feel-good pasta is a staple in many a home. Spaghetti Aglio e olio or spaghetti with marinara sauce can make for a hearty meal in just minutes. You can even go all-out with homemade pasta if you have the time to spare. Then, with a tossed salad and a bowl of breadsticks, you’ve got yourself a spread fit for a king. All you need is the perfect wine to complement your meal, and with just a few expert wine pairing tips, you can choose the right bottle every time.
A sweeter white like Riesling or Viognier need not be reserved for dessert. If you’re serving a rich, creamy pasta like alfredo, carbonara, or cheese-stuffed ravioli, the sweetness will perfectly balance salty, savory flavors. You’ll want to avoid a buttery, oak cask Chardonnay here, as it could make the meal overly rich. Instead, consider a bright, steel-barrel Chardonnay for a surprisingly refreshing flavor profile.
Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are staples of summer dining. They also happen to pair beautifully with seafood pasta dishes. The crisp, refreshing quality of these light-bodied whites offsets the brine of shrimp or fish dishes and the oil- or cream-based pasta sauces that tend to accompany them. You could even go for a mild Rosé if the flavor isn’t too strong.
Sweet or dry prosecco changes the whole dynamic of a meal with its bubbly mouthfeel. Unless you choose a truly flavorful pasta to pair it with, prosecco could overwhelm the palate. Instead, break out prosecco and pair it with a spicy arrabbiata or a flavorful puttanesca that can hold its own. Pasta dishes with robust flavors will benefit most from a zesty, sparkling beverage.
Don’t Be Afraid of Red!
There’s a misconception that red wine should be reserved for meals featuring red meat, but this simply isn’t true. Red wine can be challenging to pair with light pasta dishes like Aglio e olio, for example, because the intense flavors of the former can overwhelm the more delicate taste of the latter. However, red wines ranging from light and fruity to heavy and dark can pair well with a range of pasta dishes if you use a little common sense.
If you’re nervous, just remember the ubiquitous bottle of Chianti found at many Italian restaurants. If they serve red with pasta of every stripe, you can, too. You don’t even have to reserve it for Bolognese. Acidic, tomato-based sauces can easily handle a light-bodied Zinfandel or a spicy Cabernet Sauvignon.
A rich cheese sauce goes well with sweet white wine, but you’ll enjoy a completely different culinary experience if you choose an earthy Pinot Noir or a plummy Sangiovese. Dishes with strong flavors can handle the hearty profile of a red, especially Italian reds. Just lean lighter for more delicate pasta dishes and heavier if there’s a red sauce or meat involved.
Throw Expert Wine Pairing Tips Out the Window
Okay, to be fair, wine experts know what’s what, and they can teach you a lot about which wines will best complement a range of dishes. With that being said, your palate is unique, and at some point, you’ll develop your own flavor preferences. So don’t be afraid to buck the trend if you like a fruity Zin with your pesto pasta or a creamy Chardonnay with your puttanesca. What matters most is that you enjoy your meal.
Whether you’re craving a hearty baked ziti, rich carbonara, or refreshing gnocchi Caprese, Spizzico Italian Kitchen has the comfort food you crave, along with a range of wines to enhance every meal. So enjoy our casual dining atmosphere or order a family meal to go. We make every dish is with love and a wealth of family traditions.