Dress up pasta night with a wine that complements this peppery, garlicky penne. One bottle below even gives the illusion of adding black truffles to the dish — only the mushroom flavor is coming from the glass, not the pasta. Talk about a money saver.
RED, WHITE AND GREEN PENNE
Cook 1 pound penne pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 chopped red bell pepper; cook until slightly softened, 3 minutes. Stir in 3 cloves garlic, minced; cook 1 minute. Add ½ cup cream and ½ cup peas; heat to a boil. Transfer drained pasta to skillet; toss to mix. Add some reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce. Season with salt. Serve with Parmesan. Makes: 4 servings
Recipe by Raeanne S. Sarazen
Pairings by sommelier Belinda Chang of Maple & Ash, as told to Michael Austin:
Georges Duboeuf Morgon, Beaujolais, France: The gamay grape from cru vineyards in the Beaujolais region can age just like pinot noir in Burgundy, and mature gamay can have some of the same earthy notes, florals and red fruit flavors of a great old Burgundy. This Morgon will intertwine a red fruit component and a mushroom-y component with this pasta dish — like adding black truffles to the penne, only this time it comes from the glass.
2013 Brooks Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon: Cooler climate pinot noirs from places like the Willamette Valley can be more elegant and refined than pinots from warmer places. I like that this wine has a touch of green, which will echo nicely with the green peas in this dish. Red pepper can be a tough element to pair red wine with, but this wine has the texture to embrace and not fight with that flavor.
Blue Nun Riesling, Rheinhessen, Germany: Riesling is one of the all-time classic, back-pocket food-pairing grape varietals, and this one has aromas of white florals, citrus and ripe peaches. It also has crisp acidity to balance the rich cream sauce, and a pinch of residual sugar to complement the sweetness of the peas and cooked garlic. Rieslings age well, so if you find a bottle with a nun on the label, it should be brilliant.
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