Regional Wine & Pasta Pairings
What better blog for pasta week than a regional wine and pasta pairing menu? While there are some pasta shapes that you find throughout Italy, each region has its own specialties. And of course, if you pair a regional pasta with the delicious sauce of local ingredients meant to accompany it, and with a bottle of regional wine imbued with the same terroir , you have the makings of perfection.
We'll start with one of our favorites, bucatini. This long, spaghetti-like pasta is distinguished by the small hole ("buco") that runs the length of it. It's traditionally served all'amatriciana or alla gricia. The first is a wonderful sauce made with tomato and guanciale, topped with pecorino. The second is a "white" amatriciana, or without the tomatoes. (Another classic shape to try with these preparations is rigatoni.)
Try serving it with a bold Cesanese del Piglio wine, which can stand up to the guanciale and pecorino, as well as the tomatoes, if you use them.
Saredgna (Sardinia) has a variety of regional dishes that can be difficult to find off the island, but one of our favorites is malloreddus, or "gnocchetti sardi" (small Sardinian gnocchi). Unlike regular gnocchi, gnocchetti sardi resemble a small, shell-shaped pasta with lines (i.e. not smooth). They are traditionally served with a sauce flavored with some of the fine regional sausages made in the inland's interior, and topped with pecorino sardo cheese.
A rich pasta dish like this one deserves an equally powerful wine, try one of the many fine Cannonau wines from the Jerzu province.
The Sicilian pasta shape casarecce has migrated to other regions as well, but its origins are distinctly Sicilian. The shape resembles a scroll, with the longer edges rolled up and slightly twisted. A classic preparation is with a Trapani-style "pesto" that is made of fresh tomatoes, almonds, garlic, basil, and cheese (either fresh ricotta or a seasoned cheese like pecorino or parmigiano).
If you haven't been to Sicily, you don't know what you're missing! Try casarecce al pesto trapanese with some fine Sicilian wines during our best-selling cooking vacation in Sicily, Authentic Sicilian Experience for the Food Lover.
Puglia (Apulia) abounds in distinctive and wonderful pasta shapes, but none is perhaps more known than the whimsical orecchiette or "ear-shaped" pasta. The classic way to serve it? With cime di rapa (rapini, also called broccoli rabe) sauteed with a bit of olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and anchovy.
To try the pasta and the wine in Puglia, check out our best-selling cooking vacation in Puglia, A Culilnary Advanture in Puglia, or our newest cooking vacation on the Salentine Peninsula, Cooking and Hiking between the Seas.
Of course, we think the the best way to try any of these pasta and wine pairings is on a cooking vacation to Italy, but you can enjoy them at home as well!
Can you think of other regional wine and pasta pairings? Don't forget to tell us your favorites in the comments or on Facebook.
By Peg Kern