Pasta dishes are wonderful entrees that can be paired with some type of salad and a wine to create a true delight at the dinner table. One question that many people have is what type of wine would work best with a specific type of pasta. In most cases, the determining factor is not the pasta itself, but the sauce and other ingredients that are part of the recipe. Here are some examples that will make choosing the right wine a little easier.
Many pasta dishes are prepared using some type of tomato-based sauce. A classic example would be spaghetti prepared with meatballs and a tomato and basil sauce. Opting for a red wine is the way to go when serving this type of entrée. Taking things one step further, there are those who believe it is almost a mortal sin to serve an Italian dish of this type without pairing it with an Italian red wine. Since there are options ranging from dry wines to semi-sweet wines that will enhance the flavours of the sauce and the meat, feel free to go with any red wine that appeals to the individual.
How About Pesto Pasta?
While the pairing of red wine with a tomato-based sauce is fairly straightforward, not all choices are so easy. Serving pasta that is paired with a pesto sauce is a good example. The classic pesto sauce is made using pine nuts and basil. In fact, it’s possible to make pesto sauce using any type of greens and nuts.
The focus here is on identifying a wine that will work well with whatever greens are used. Depending on the flavour that results from the combination of nuts and greens, opting for a white wine may be just fine. Something that is more delicate and lingers on the tongue will help to bring out the flavour.
This does not mean that red wines are not an option. Opting for a lighter wine with a less robust taste will not overpower the pesto sauce and works just fine for those who tend to prefer red wines in general.
The Matter of Seafood
What if the pasta dish happens to include the use of lobster, scampi, or some other seafood in a white sauce? Generally, the response will be to go with a dry white wine. The lighter flavour of the wine will ensure that the herbs used in the white sauce and the natural flavour of the seafood are more prominent.
A creamy cheese pasta calls for a wine that will support the texture of the dish and help to bring out the taste. Many experts would recommend an aged white wine that has a little bit of a creamy body. If guests happen to prefer red wine with cheese pasta, stick with something that is more along the lines of a floral red wine. This is an especially good pairing if the cheese used for the sauce tends to have a sharper taste rather than a milder one.
Remember that not every expensive wine is the right choice for a pasta entrée. Consider the nature of the sauce and the other ingredients over the price of the wine. That will make it easier to come up with a pairing that provides the best possible dining experience.