Which Wine With Pasta Dishes, Part I

It can be really worth your while to spend a little exra time, and maybe extra money to match your wine and food, even for relatively unpretentious dishes such as pasta. Fettuccine Alfredo is made from fettuccine pasta tossed with Parmesan cheese, butter, and heavy cream. The melted cheese mixture forms a rich coating on the pasta. The dish is more popular in the United States than in Italy where it is called Fettuccine al Burro e Panna (Fettuccine with Butter and Cream). In American cuisine, this dish often includes such as parsley, chicken, garlic, or shrimp. Fettuccine Alfredo is said to have been invented in Rome in 1914 by the restaurateur Alfredo di Lelio for his pregnant wife who had trouble keeping food down. Classic wine pairings for Fettuccine Alfredo include Orvieto, Pinoo Blanc or Pinot Bianco, Pinot Noir, and Sancerre. Other good choices include an Alsatian Riesling or a Chardonnay.

Macaroni and Cheese is usually made with elbow macaroni and cheddar cheese. Of course, you can add just about anything to it. Legend tells us this comfort food was served in the White House by President Thomas Jefferson. The Kraft Dinner version was perhaps the first fast food, introduced in 1937 and now sells one million boxes a day. Never, never confuse KD with the real thing. The classic pairings for Macaroni and Cheese include a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay. You might also consider a Cotes du Rhone or a Chianti Classico.

There are lots and lots of great combinations of pasta and shellfish. Linguine is often served with clams, perhaps in a leek sauce. Fettuccine is often served with shrimp. And for a lobster pasta , angel hair is the recommended pasta variety. The classic wine pairings include Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. You might also choose a Riesling or a Chenin Blanc.

Penne all’arrabbiata is a Roman dish of penne or other pasta with Arrabbiata sauce (garlic, tomatoes, basil and red chilli, cooked in olive oil). It is generally served with chopped fresh parsley sprinkled on top. Many cooks add meat such as bacon and vegetables, All’arrabbiata means “angry style”, an obvious reference to the chile peppers. The classic pairing to this fiery dish is a Shiraz. Among the ther good choices are an Italian Sangiovese or Valpolicella.

Chianti DOCG and Chianti Classico DOCG are often paired with pasta. I think that these wines, despite their top of the line designation, are frequently overrated.

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