Pasta Evangelists: 5 Pasta And Wine Pairings That Will Transport You To Italy
When it comes to sought-after destinations, Italy remains high on travellers’ must-visit lists. With a unique blend of cultural heritage, charming landscapes and gastronomical delights, Italy’s bewitching lifestyle is enough to make you want to quit your job, move to Tuscany and drink Chianti all day. Unrestricted days and a summer of uncertainty may have put a pin on your travel plans, but Pasta Evangelists – the fresh pasta specialists known for delivering gourmet, restaurant-quality dishes to doorsteps – are on hand to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to the comfort of your own home.
We asked Puglian native and Head Chef at Pasta Evangelists Roberta d’Elia for the tried-and-tested pasta dishes that hail from our favourite summer destinations, and a helpful wine pairing recommendation so you can host your own Italian trattoria wherever you are. Andiamo!
Puglia: Montepulciano & Pasta con Pomodorini Freschi
“Let’s begin our journey in my home region of Puglia. Puglia is really special because we have this magical combination of sun-drenched red earth with a cool coastal breeze, meaning we can harvest some of Italy’s most exquisite produce. Famed for its ‘cucina povera’ (literally meaning ‘poor cuisine’), simplicity is at the core of Pugliese cuisine. Pasta con pomodorini freschi (pasta with fresh tomato) brings together everything I love about cooking in my hometown – the juiciest red tomatoes, exceptional extra virgin olive oil and the freshest herbs, all prepared with minimal intervention. For this sauce, I always choose my favourite pasta shape, orecchiette, which I learned to make with my nonna as a little girl. I love to pair this rustic dish with an equally rustic wine, such as Montepulciano. The notes of oregano and pepper pair so beautifully with this tomato-based sauce, without overpowering the subtle basil flavours. Montepulciano has also a noticeable acidity, which will match the acidity of a tomato sauce.”
Campania: Verdicchio & Pasta al Limone
“Next, we go to the stunning coastal region of Campania, the most quintessential Italian summer destination and home to the spectacular Amalfi peninsula. The Amalfi Coast is renowned for its exquisitely fragrant oversized lemons which grow along the sun-kissed coastline. Locals here devour plates of pasta al Limone, a creamy pasta sauce infused with the zest and juice of local lemons. For the wine, the main thing to remember is that the acidity of the lemon in this sauce needs a similarly acidic wine to match up to it. Verdicchio has high acidity and strong citrus notes, which will complement this dish while helping to cut through the creaminess of the sauce.”
Lazio: Pinot Grigio & Carbonara
“Onwards to Lazio, home to the iconic carbonara, traditionally crafted with rich egg yolk, salty guanciale, and Parmigiano Reggiano – you’ll find this dish on the menu in any trattoria in Rome. While I always make fresh bucatini to go with my Carbonara because it is the shape typically eaten in the Lazio region, spaghetti is also a fine option. I recommend a crisp Pinot Grigio to balance the richness of the creamy carbonara sauce – its brightness will also complement the smokiness of the guanciale.”
Tuscany: Chianti Classico & Pappardelle al ragù di Cinghiale
“In central Italy, in Tuscany, where wild boars roam freely in the local woodlands, here you will find ragù di cinghiale (wild boar sauce) – this is my favourite kind of ragù. Typical in the coastal region of Maremma, for this recipe wild boar is slowly stewed with red wine, juniper berries and plenty of tomatoes, until deliciously tender, and served with thick strands of pappardelle. As boar has a strong flavour, I always enjoy this pasta with a bold, fruit-forward red wine, like Chianti Classico. The Chianti pairing also honours the Tuscan heritage of this dish, as one of the region’s – if not Italy’s – most famous wine exports!”
Veneto: Rosé & Crab Ravioli
“My favourite destination for late summer/early autumn is Venice, which we call ‘la serenissima’. For a few glorious weeks, the locals descend on the city’s famed Rialto Market, to hunt for ‘moeche’, a type of soft shell crab that has been harvested in the salty waters of the Venetial lagoon for around 300 years, by skilled local fishermen known as ‘molecanti’. While ‘moeche’ is often served lightly fried, atop a bed of polenta, I love the local crab in creamy ravioli filling. In my eyes, there’s no better pairing for this dish than a bright, dry rosé. Citrus, berry, and herb notes complement the sweetness of the crab, whilst acidity helps to cut through the richness. Just be sure to serve this wine cold!”