From angel hair and orzo to vermicelli and gnocchi, pasta comes in all shapes and sizes, making it a versatile meal starter for any day of the week. You can add it to soups, casseroles, and, of course, traditional Italian dishes—our favorite! In honor of Pasta Day, we say pasta the sauce and let’s simmer a while on these top picks for pasta and wine pairings, including a special sauce recipe from one of our Traveling Vineyard Wine Guides.
Bolognese Paired with Wine
A good Bolognese calls for a splash of wine, and that’s why this sauce tops our list. Choose from pork or beef and add in plum tomatoes, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, Italian herbs, and heavy cream … and ladle it over tagliatelle egg noodles. We love this recipe from Carlsbad Cravings, which also reminds us that Bolognese is easy to make in batches and freeze for quick dinners on busy nights.
Vodka Marinara Paired with Wine
Vodka marinara is delicious over pasta varieties that offer something extra, like gnocchi or lobster-stuffed ravioli. This sauce is tangy, creamy, and satisfying. Wine Guide Leena Ruel shared her family’s recipe for vodka marinara, so you can try this special night sauce anytime. You will surely add it to your recipe repertoire.
Pair your vodka marinara dishes with our Silver-rated Lí Per Te Rosso Veneto.
Papa’s Recipe for Vodka Marinara
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup vodka
- 2 large cans of San Marzano crushed tomatoes
- 1 pint of heavy cream
- 4 garlic cloves, finely diced (1-2 if you prefer less)
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil
- Pinch of dried oregano
- Pinch of garlic powder
- ½ cup grated parmesan (optional)
In a skillet over medium heat, sauté garlic and onion in butter until slightly brown and soft. Pour in vodka and let cook for 10 minutes. Mix in crushed tomatoes and let cook for 30 minutes. Add in seasonings and heavy cream, and cook for 30 more minutes. If you like it extra creamy, add in grated parmesan.
Alfredo Paired with Wine
Some days just call for alfredo sauce. From fettucine to linguine, this buttery, creamy sauce will warm you from the inside out. Top with shrimp, peas, or grilled chicken if you want to add protein. We love this super easy recipe from The Salty Marshmallow. All you need to have on hand is butter, heavy cream, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and grated parmesan. For those of you with good wrist-to wisk coordination, this will be a snap. Alfredo sauce comes together quickly and is a great option for a midweek pick-me-up pasta.
Pair with our Bella Mente Pinot Grigio.
Clam Sauce Paired with Wine
Date night, anyone? Cook up simple-yet-decadent clam sauce and serve over spaghetti or linguine. Be sure and have plenty of fresh, crusty Italian bread on hand to mop up the sauce, and always include a food-friendly white wine that has a medium- or full-bodied profile. Here’s a recipe for a simple clam sauce from The Spruce Eats that you can try at home. The ingredient list includes olive oil, onion, garlic, chopped clams, and fresh parsley. Restaurant-quality made simple!
Pair with our Gold-rated Lulo Grüner Veltliner.