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Pairing Wine with Pasta Dishes
Picking a wine to pair with your favorite pasta recipe doesn’t have to be challenging. Each pasta style has a perfect match! Here’s everything you need to know about pairing wine with pasta dishes!

Quick Notes on Wine

There are a few key details among wine varietals that make them each unique, including:

  • Acidity
  • Tannins
  • Sweetness
  • Body

Each of these details plays a key role when pairing wines with pasta dishes, but the body of the wine is one of the most important factors to pay attention to. Body describes how the wine feels in your mouth, which can be considered either light, medium or full. It’s like the difference between drinking whole milk versus skim milk—each offers a very distinct feel on your palate. Wines feel full bodied when there are higher alcohol levels and limited acidity. Wines that are slightly higher in acid and are lower in alcohol feel lighter.

Now that we have a basic understand of wine characteristics, let’s take a look at the best types of wine to pair with your favorite pasta dishes!

Pairing Wine with Red Sauces

Tomatoes contain a decent amount of acid, which adds a lovely tartness to pasta recipes. Because of this moderate acidity, a medium-bodied red wine is ideal. These kinds of reds complement the tomatoes in red sauce nicely without being too overpowering or underwhelming.

Pairing Wine with Creamy Pasta

Cheese and cream sauces are a great wine companion. Full-bodied whites offer a robust creaminess with the slightest hint of tartness that’s perfect for pairing with creamy pasta. Look for oak-aged whites, which gives the wine a buttery feel that’s delightful with cheese or cream-based sauces!

Light-bodied red wines also pair well with creamy pasta. They’re floral and fruity, pairing best with more punchy cheeses like pecorino or parmigiana.

Pairing Wine with Seafood Pasta

Seafood pasta dishes are heavily laced with garlic, butter, cheese, tomatoes, and basil. Light to medium-bodied white wines pair with these robust flavors. They are crispy and tart, which allows the palate to cleanse between bites without overshadowing the dish. These wines do an amazing job of highlighting and elevating seafood!

Sparkling wines are also great to pair with seafood pasta. Adding a bit of bubbly effervescence, sparkling wines help to balance out heavier seafood dishes or those with a little bit of spice.

Pairing Wine with Pesto Pasta

Herbaceous pasta sauces like pesto and vegetable-forward dishes like primavera call for wines that are light and crisp. Fresh vegetables themselves (and herbs) are light and bright, so partnering them with something bold and aggressive will only dampen their flavor. For the best pairing, consider light-bodied white wines that naturally have citrusy, herbaceous notes.

Pairing Wine with Meaty Sauces

Meat sauces are some of the most popular pasta sauces in Italian recipes. Think ragu, Bolognese, pork, lamb, beef, and sausage. These meaty pasta sauces pair best robust red wines, specifically medium-bodied to full reds. Raising alcohol levels give a perfect, unctuous mouth feel partnered with round tannins (dryness). Bold is the name of the game in this pairing, and these wines have it in spades.

Pairing Wine with Spicy Pasta

Spice and wine are often seen as an impossible pairing. Despite this stereotype, the right wines can pair beautifully with spicy pasta dishes. Medium to full white wines are a great choice here, as they have a bit of alcohol and sweetness, which cools the heat and adds balance to particularly spicy dishes. Light-bodied, fruity reds also work well with spicy pasta, offering a refreshing acidity and clearing the palate for the next spicy bite.

Cooking with Wine

Cooking with wine adds a depth of flavor to recipes, creating a balance through acidity and sweetness. hether deglazing or stewing, the time to add wine to your pasta recipe happens about halfway through the cooking process.

  • When deglazing, wine finishes the dish by creating a sauce. The high temperatures quickly evaporate the alcohol, leaving just the concentrated flavor of the wine.
  • Stewing uses a slightly lower temperature. By allowing the alcohol to burn off more slowly, it flavors the dish throughout the remaining cooking process.

The Best Wine to Cook With

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that if it’s not a wine you’d drink, it’s probably not a wine you should cook with, as its flavor will remain the same in the dish. Here are some of the best wines for cooking purposes:

  • Fortified wines: Sherry, Madeira, and Marsala
  • Crisp, light-bodied whites
  • Medium-bodied reds

Create Fantastic Pasta Dishes with Tantillo Foods

When you’re ready to create a delicious pasta dish, get your ingredients from Tantillo Foods. Our high-quality pastas, pasta sauces, and cooking oils will allow you to create fresh, flavorful, and nutritious meals that you’re sure to love.

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