Tag Archives: pasta

Sauvignon Blanc Paired with Pesto

A Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc paired with pesto

A classic: Sauvignon Blanc paired with pesto.

What makes it a classic? Here’s how the 2012 Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc worked with the pesto I made for the August Wine Pairing Weekend.

I get grassiness and grapefruit on the nose of the wine. I take a sip, and get peach, cherry blossoms, and mineral undertones. I eat a couple bites of the linguine, getting the garlic bite and saltiness in the pesto along with the freshness of the basil and acidity from the tomatoes. A lot happening on the palate. More wine. The crispness of the Sauvignon Blanc refreshes, cleansing the palate to be ready for another burst of flavor from the pesto. The makings of a classic pairing!

Ready to try this classic pairing for yourself? Typically on this site I link over to where you can find recipe details. But my pesto recipe is so simple (yet so good) that I’ll go ahead and re-share it right here:

Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc paired with pesto for #winePW 3Cooking Chat’s Basil Pesto Ingredients
2 cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and tightly packed
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp pine nuts

The Method: Have a food processor at the ready. Rinse the basil and pluck the good leaves from the plant, add to a measuring cup. I use up all the basil I’ve gotten. If I wind up with more than two cups basil, I scale the recipe accordingly and have more pesto on hand. If you have extra basil and a school age child on hand, enlist them in the process of calculating the recipe proportions, keep those math skills sharp over the summer! Put the basil into the food processor, and give it a quick whir to begin chopping the basil and make room for the other ingredients.

Next, add the garlic, and hit that food processor button again to get the cloves chopped up with the basil.

Add the remaining in ingredients, and then puree to get everything well combined. Open the food processor, scrape the sides to get bits of garlic and basil that haven’t been incorporated, then give the processor a final whir. Presto, you have tasty pesto! If you’re going to be eating within the next hour or so, just leave the pesto out. If you’re making in advance, refrigerate, but take out an hour before serving to bring the pesto to room temperature. Serve over hot pasta.

Wine Pairing: Well, we already covered Sauvignon Blanc being a classic to pair with pesto.  Want to go in a different direction? I’ve also had luck pairing Prosecco with pesto, and Picpoul with pesto is also very good, if you want to try a lesser known wine with your pesto.

a classic pairing: Sauvignon Blanc with basil pesto

Farfalle and Pesto Paired with Prosecco

Prosecco makes a nice partner for classic basil pestoLooking for a wine pairing for pesto? Sauvignon Blanc is a classic pairing, as I wrote about in my post for #winePW 3 (click through for the recipe as well as wine pairing details), but a number of other wines can work well with it, too. Having made a big batch of pesto last weekend, I’ve had a chance to do some experiment.

One nice option is sparkling wine. Too many people think of sparking wines only for celebrations, when in fact it’s a great wine with many foods. I had picked up a bottle of Ca’Furlan Prosecco Cuvee Extra Dry from Pairings Wine & Food recently, and figured that would be good to try when we had farfalle bowtie pasta tossed with leftover pesto.  The Pairings tasting description for the Prosecco, “Honeysuckle bouquet with a hint of sweetness; fresh and minerally fruit with nice bubbles...” gives you the idea that this could work well with pesto. It cleanses the palate, in similar fashion to the sauv blanc, getting you ready to enjoy the next flavorful bite of the pasta.

Like many Proseccos, this is a nice affordable choice in the bubbly category–it can be had for around $10. Grab a bottle for your next batch of pesto!

During our #winePW chat Saturday, Jeff from foodwineclick and Jen from Vino Travels had a number of good ideas about Italian wines to try with pesto. They were talking still whites, so I’d forgotten to mention that I’d had this Italian bubble just a few days before! I’ll have to pick up on their suggestions next time I make a batch of pesto.

A Sauvignon Blanc for Pasta with Chicken and Goat Cheese

pasta with goat cheese and chicken, pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc

This wine pairing started with a bottle of 2011 Castoro Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, which the folks from SIP Certified had sent for me to come up with a food pairing. I came up with this Pasta with Chicken and Goat Cheese, based on sauv blanc’s affinity for both chicken and goat cheese. The dish also features lemon, capers, and basil, flavors to consider with the wine pairing. I noted I didn’t have a Sauvignon Blanc pairing on the site yet, so I grabbed this one from the Cooking Chat archives!

I got a bit of hibiscus on the nose of the wine, and a fresh and lively taste. I detected kiwi, lemon and a touch of pepper. This picked up the lemon, herbs and onion in the dish nicely. I’d say we got this pairing done right, if I do say so myself! According to the Castoro website, this is their first year producing Sauv Blanc, and I’d say the did quite well.   There’s a bit of Gewurztraminer blended in, which gave I’d say gave it just a touch of spice. A good value at around $15. Castoro Cellars currently has the 2013 vintage of their Sauvignon Blanc out; I’d imagine that would work well, as would other crisp sauv blancs you like.

Full disclosure: I received a complimentary bottle of the wine from SIP to sample. The opinions and recipes here are entirely my own!

Castoro Cellars Sauvignon Blanc. #wine

Rigatoni with Kale, Spicy Sausage and a Zinfandel Syrah Blend

Rigatoni with Kale and Sausage, paired with Renwood Zinfandel blend.
This is a variation on the sausage and Zinfandel theme I blogged about the other day. I had gotten two large Andouille sausages from D’Artagnan, and only needed one for that pasta with sausage and collard greens. So the other night I used the other one to make Rigatoni with Kale and Sausage. I used feta instead of the cheese blend in the original recipe, and that worked great. There was a sample box of wines from Renwood Winery in the cellar waiting to be opened. Knowing they specialize in zin, last night seemed like the perfect time to crack one open to pair with the spicy sausage in the pasta dish.

My friends from Renwood had sent a variety of their wines to try. We were getting going on this dinner late after another Little League baseball game, so I didn’t have time to do much research to determine which bottle to open first. 4 are straight zins, but I decided to go for one with Syrah in the blend. We opened the 2011 Renwood Clarion Red Wine, a blend of Zinfandel and Syrah from California’s Amador County. We were very pleased with the selection! I got a touch of cinnamon along with blackberry and pepper tasting this one, and it has a nice smooth finish. Enough spice to match well with the sausage. I look forward to trying the other bottles in the box–stay tuned for details!

2011 Renwood Clarion red wine blend with rigatoni and sausage.

Before signing off, I should mention one other thing about Renwood. They are having a BBQ sauce making competition, with the winner getting an all expenses paid trip for two to Renwood Winery for the Amador Vintners’ Big Crush event in October. Entries must be submitted by August 30. I haven’t made my own BBQ sauce before, but this might give me reason to try! It’s been way too long since I’ve been to California wine country, and I’d love to get back there. I probably shouldn’t share the link to the contest info as that might increase my competition. But I’m a nice guy so I’ll share it anyway–here you go!

Full disclosure: I received this wine as a courtesy sample from Renwood. As always, free samples don’t influence the opinions expressed or guarantee mention here on this blog.

2011 Renwood Clarion Red Wine blend

Pasta with Spicy Sausage, Collard Greens and a Zinfandel

Ca' Momi ZinfandelI serve some combination of pasta, sausage and greens quite a bit. It’s a nice way to get healthy greens in our diet as part of an easy main course. A modest amount of sausage can provide nice flavor to pasta dish. Recently I essentially followed this recipe for pasta with sausage and collard greens with two changes. The original recipe used chicken sausage, a nice healthy option. The other night I used a D’Artagnan Andouille Sausage, which I love to use for a good flavor burst in dishes like this as well as kale soup. I switched up the pasta shape too, using fusilli this time.

Pairings Wine and Food was sampling a few moderately priced zinfandels this week, and I brought home the one I liked best from the lineup: the 2012 Ca’ Momi Napa Valley Zinfandel. I’m not sure how they manage to pull off producing a Napa zin that I was able to get for $10, but I don’t want to ask too many questions lest this deal disappear! Sampling the zin is what led me to pick up the D’Artagnan sausage, thinking the spice element in the zin would match up nicely with the kick provided by the sausage. I wasn’t disappointed! This zin has good jammy fruit along with some peppery spice and a nice long finish. I definitely recommend repeating this pairing at home. Or you might want to try this zin matched up with some spicy BBQ from your grill.

pasta with  sausage and collards pairing with a zinfandel.Ca' Momi Zinfandel

Pesto and Picpoul-de-Pinet

Picpoul de Pinet pairs nicely with pesto.Picpoul might not be one of the best know grapes. However, this white varietal native to the Languedoc area of France is very food friendly. I particularly like the Saint-Peyre Picpoul-de-Pinet. Picpoul is known to go well with seafood, but I’ve come to enjoy the way it works with pesto, too. Sauvignon Blanc is the most common pairing for pesto, but give the Picpoul & pesto combo a try for something new! More on this pairing in this Cooking Chat post. As you an see, this is not a new idea! Blogged about it back in 2010, and still come back to it as shown in the photo below.

Creamy Fettuccine with Chardonnay

Pouilly-Fuisse with fettuccineThese days, if there’s a special occasion (broadly defined) but I’m not inclined to get int a big cooking project, i can always go with my fettuccine recipe.  It was the first meal I made for Jodi, on one of our first dates, back when I was a novice cook. It impressed then, and is still tasty today, even if it’s fairly easy at this point.

So we go to this creamy fettuccine recipe fairly often, what wine to serve with it? The creaminess calls for a wine that is pretty full bodied, so that it has the weight to stand up to the creamy sauce. We’ve gone with a red at times, a merlot or something along those lines works. But more often, we go with a chardonnay or other substantial white with this one.

Recently we had the fettuccine with the 2011 Domaine Manciat-Poncet Pouilly-Fuissé. I got flint on my first taste, followed by some nice melon fruit. I also picked up just a hint of lemon. Nice round mouthfeel. That substantial mouthfeel gives the wine weight to stand up to the creamy sauce, and the melon and flint marry nicely with the flavors of the dish. A winning pairing!