Concha y Toro

Ania Smolec 15/12/2015

Wine pairings for classic pasta sauces

Each country plays with Italian recipes, but today I want to present you a guide to classic pasta, sauces and their pairings with wine.


You can buy pasta in endless shapes and sizes. There are special types for soups, sauces and salads. Each country plays with Italian recipes, but today I want to present you a guide to classic pasta, sauces and their pairings with wine.

The modern cuisine wouldn’t exist without Italian and Mediterranean origin pasta. We love them for its short time of cooking, its flavors and the versatility of preparations they offer. Some recipes may be more elaborated, such as the original Bolognese ragout, cooked for many hours, but most pasta dishes are very easy to do. Surely you have your favorite recipes, those you cook frequently or those ypu always ask in restaurants. I want to recommend you some of the most classic and popular sauces and their pairings with wines.

spaghetti alla napoletana

One of the freshest pasta is spaghetti alla Napoletana which is prepared with chopped tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil. It is a traditional dish of the Campania region. With a few high quality ingredients we obtain a delicious and sophisticated dish. Tomatoes and fresh basil are compatible partners. And with garlic and grated cheese over the sauce we just need a young, light-bodied wine, with aromas of red fruits, such as Casillero del Diablo Merlot.

Another very cheerful dish is penne with pesto alla Genovese. With this beautiful emerald green color sauce we travel to another part of Italy, to the region of Liguria. It is a fresh salsa, contains uncooked basil leaves, garlic, parmesan cheese, pine nuts or walnuts, and olive oil. All ingredients are ground together until smooth sauce. Basil is a very aromatic and delicate herb, but the other ingredients also affect our wine pairing. So I recommend you to  enjoy this dish with a white medium bodied wine, with lots of character, which really enhances this sauce: Trio Sauvignon Blanc.


Most Italian sauces can be prepared and eaten in a few minutes. A good example of this trend is parpadelle with a fresh mushrooms sauce with cream, salt and black pepper. Here we must consider the earthy notes of mushrooms and the creamy texture of the preparation. My suggestion is Trio Chardonnay, a white wine of medium body, which will be a perfect counterpoint to the dish.

fettuccine Alfredo

Another very rich and creamy sauce is fettuccine Alfredo. This sauce is made with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and butter. As the cheese melts, it is emulsified until smooth and flavorful consistency and then it’s droped over pasta. This sauce was named after the Roman restaurateur Alfredo Di Lelio. Another variation of the recipe includes cream, fresh eggs and garlic. In this case take a look at Casillero del Diablo Viognier. Its fresh bouquet based on green apples, pears and nectarines balances the heavy components of the sauce. At the same time, the medium body of this strain and its roundness is perfect with the creaminess of the Alfredo sauce.

But not only vegetarians eat pasta in Italy. On the contrary, Italian cuisine is full of dishes with meat, fish and seafood. A delicious representative of the latter is pasta alle vongole. The recipe includes clams, olive oil, parsley and garlic. The flavors of this dish are very direct, well-defined and tasty. Seafood protein is the hero of the recipe and here we have to think about the choice of wine. The perfect wine has to be fresh, juicy, and crunchy, filled with notes of citrus and white fruits, like Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay.

pasta alle vongole

After the surf pasta, let’s go the turf flavors. How about trying the amatriciana sauce? The basis of this recipe is bacon fried on the griddle and mixed with Casalino tomatoes (a Roman variety, but can be replaced by any ones) and Pecorino cheese. The sauce name comes from Amatricie village, but the Romans say that the author was from that city, but he worked as a chef in Rome. There this sauce is called matriciana. There are several versions of this sauce. Some chefs add onion, other garlic or both. There are some that only add a little bit of wine. It is served with bucatini pasta (spaghetti-like) and naturally goes well with a rich red wine of medium body with hints of berries and a touch of juicy red bell pepper. For this dish, I recommend Casillero del Diablo Carmenere, whose structure and lush flavors create a perfect harmony with the notes of bacon and tomato.

As you know, the tomato is an icon fruit for Italian food. Therefore several recipes contain it. One of the richest and aromatic is linguine with puttanesca sauce. The recipe of Campania contains tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, black olives, capers and oregano. For this dish, I like to choose a medium bodied red wine, with spicy notes as Casillero del Diablo Shiraz. This wine carries a very nice counterpoint to the acidity of the dish. There is also another version of puttanesca from Lazio where anchovies are added. These fishes are very salty and increase the perception of tannins in red wine, making you feel it more astringent. The salty taste likewise accentuates the warmth of a wine with high levels of alcohol. That is why my answer to this dish is a white, crisp and crunchy wine as Casillero del Diablo Pinot Grigio. The good acidity of this wine works flawlessly with the salty touch of the preparation.

A traditional Roman recipe based on tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and spicy red peppers is called arrabbiata (it means “angry”). Pairing tt is not easy because of the level of spicy pepper notes. If you do not mind a slightly burning effect in the mouth, thus you can enjoy this dish with Casillero del Diablo Malbec. But if you prefer to slightly soften the temper of this sauce, I recommend you a sweeter wine with floral notes, such as Frontera Moscato.

Today I want to present you a very quick and easy recipe to prepare: Spaghetti with Pomodoro Secchi (dried tomatoes). It is a gourmet dish, full of aromas and flavors. Dried tomatoes have a deeper flavor profile than fresh ones, and together with fresh herbs and a rich olive oil, offer a delightful party in your mouth. I recommend this dish with Casillero Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon, a complex wine, but also fruity and elegant, perfect to match the weight of this dish.

Spaghetti with Pomodoro Secchi

Ingredients (4 people)

  • 400g spaghetti pasta
  • 16 dried tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of raw garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley and oregano)

Spaghetti con Pomodoro Secchi


  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. Dried Tomatoes can be sun-dried and preserved in olive (remove them from the pot and cut into finer strokes), dried (soak in water for a few minutes and then cut them), home dried (preheat the oven to 150 ° C, lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up. Put a few drops of olive oil over tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tomatoes brown around the edges appear slightly wrinkled, about 1 hour and 30 minutes or more (depending on your taste).
  3. In a skillet heat the olive oil, add garlic and fry until lightly browned.
  4. Add tomatoes and a little bit of water. Cook on medium heat until the water evaporates.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the cooked pasta, mix well and leave on low heat for a few minutes.
  7. Serve immediately decorated with fresh herbs.