Sunday, July 19, 2009

"N" is for Noodles

When pairing wine to one’s favorite noodle dish, the rule of thumb is to consider the sauce. The old rule states that we should pair white wines to white sauces, such as Alfredo and red wine to red sauces like tomato-based versions. While this rule certainly is a great starting point, also consider the noodle’s shape and consistency and match this to the sauce’s weight and texture. Said another way, marry the weight of the sauce to the density of the noodle to the weight of the wine. Otherwise, one element will dominate the others, causing the combination to be imbalanced in flavour and texture.

For example, thin, delicate noodles like angel hair or thin spaghetti are best served with light-style, thin sauces (broths) that partner well with delicate or lighter styled wines (non-oaked Chardonnay.)

Thicker noodles like fettuccine are an ideal partner for heavier sauces (meat-based), and therefore work well with heavier style wines (Cabernet Sauvignon.)

Noodles with holes or ridges -- mostaccioli (two-inch long macaroni tubes) or radiatore (about one inch long and half an inch in diameter chunks that resemble tiny radiators with rippled edges) – are great for chunkier sauces (seafood or meat) and work with big, bold wines – big, bold whites and/or big, bold reds.

Rotini (spirals) is a twisted noodle that holds bits of meat, vegetables and cheese, so it works well with heavy or chunky sauces. Capellini (angel hair) is delicate in texture and so is best suited to thinner, delicate sauces. Manicotti can be stuffed with a mixture of meat, cheese and vegetables, topped with your favorite sauce and bake.

With so many heavy and competing flavours, Manicotti is best matched to a big, full-bodied wine (Cabernet or Zinfandel.) Farfalle (bow ties) is thick enough for any sauce. Medium and wide egg noodles can be baked, tossed in soups or salads, or topped with cream, tomato, cheese or meat sauces.

Spaghetti and linguine are the perfect choice for nearly any sauce, while fettuccini is great for heavier sauces, like cheese, meat and tomato sauces. Rigatoni's ridges and holes are perfect with any sauce, from cream or cheese to the chunkiest meat sauces.

Here’s a few ideas for pairing ideas:

Tomato-based sauces with capellini noodles pair well with a light to medium red like Pinot Noir.

Spicy tomato-based sauces with farfalle, spaghetti or linguine pair well with light, fruity reds with good acidity, such as Pinot Noir.

Pesto with gnocci (potato dumpling pasta) pairs well with a big, fat Chardonnay.

Blue cheese sauces with gnocci, fettuccini or rigatoni pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.

White cheese sauces with fettuccini or rigatoni pair well with a big, fat Chardonnay.

Herb sauces with angel hair pair well with light, fruit reds, as well.
Cream-based sauces with gnocci or fettuccini pair well with a big fat Chardonnay.

Meat sauces with gnocci or fettuccini or rigatoni pair well with a big, bold Cabernet.

Oil-based sauces (olive oil and garlic) with spaghetti or linguini pair well with a big, fat Chardonnay.

No comments:

Post a Comment