Easy Wine Pairings from Your Kitchen Staples
What are easy wine and dinner pairings?
- Pinot Grigio and Shakshuka
- Chardonnay and Spaghetti Carbonara
- Cava and Tortilla Española
- Cabernet Sauvignon and Meatballs
- Chianti and Penne all'arrabbiata
Looking for something fast and easy to cook for dinner, but want that extra oomph? If you have a few bottles of wine on hand, there are some easy wine and dinner pairings you could try with just your kitchen staples.
Even when your pantry is running low, there are plenty of things you can make with what you have on hand — like eggs, onions, cheese, or tomatoes. And, when you couple that dish with the right wine, that easy dinner can become elegant and delicious.
Tips for Easy Wine Pairings
First, let’s look at some of the proven methodologies in a good wine pairing. While there are no hard rules when it comes to this, these will help you better pair whatever wines you have on hand with the dishes you create.
- The wine should have the same flavor intensity as the food.
- The wine should be at least as acidic and as sweet as the food.
- Red wines pair best with bold meats (such as red meat).
- White wines pair best with light meats (such as fish or chicken).
- Bitter wines (such as aged red wines) do well with fattier food.
- Try matching the wine with the sauce, rather than the meat.
- White, Sparkling, and Rosé wines tend to create contrasting pairings.
- Red wines tend to create congruent pairings.
Once you become more familiar with the flavor profiles of different wines, you can begin experimenting with different pairings.
To get you started, let’s take a look at some of the wine dinners you can have with easy-to-make recipes.
Pinot Grigio and Shakshuka
Shakshuka is a one-pan meal of poached eggs cooked in tomato sauce. You can make this at home following this recipe — all you need are some eggs, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
Egg dishes in any form pair well with a light white wine, and Shakshuka is no exception. Unlike simpler egg dishes, this one will need a white wine with fairly bold flavors, complexity, and acidity. This is because Shakshuka’s taste is fairly complex and acidic.
For this meal, we recommend Pinot Grigio (like Coppola Rosso & Bianco Pinot Grigio). While light-bodied, it has a more neutral flavor than other light-bodied whites. And, it has high enough acidity to meet the acidity of the meal’s tomato sauce. Plus, its low tannins and balanced flavors will not overpower the lightness of the eggs.
Chardonnay and Spaghetti Carbonara
With its delicately made sauce from whipped egg yolk and nutty cheese, a traditionally made Spaghetti Carbonara is a great and simple pasta dinner to enjoy after a long day of work.
Among the ingredients you need to follow this recipe, a majority of them have a sweet tendency (such as pasta and egg yolk). Therefore, you should try a wine that has a slight fruitiness, gritty acidity, and a great developed structure to match the flavor profile of the dish.
A Chardonnay aged in French oak barrels — like the Montes Alpha Chardonnay — can be a perfect match. It has hints of fresh tropical fruit as well as a pleasant acidity to harmonize with the richness and sweetness of the Carbonara.
Cava and Tortilla Española
Tortilla Española is a famous and well-loved Spanish dish. This savory omelet made from potatoes, onions, and eggs are surprisingly heavy and delectable for how simple it is to whip up.
To pair with this recipe, we recommend a good Cava. The high acidity and persistent bubbles of the Cava will balance the salt and fat from the eggs and olive oil. And, the savory taste of the dish enhances the fruit and citrus flavors of the Cava.
If possible, we recommend pairing with a Cava Reserva, like the Freixenet Reserva Brut. This goes through an aging process of 15 months on the lees, which makes its profile more textured and complex — which goes great with the crunchiness and richness of the Tortilla Española.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Meatballs
If you have leftover ground beef and pork lying in your fridge, you could make this simple baked meatball dish, which you can serve as is or over your favorite pasta. With slow-cooked meat and acidic ingredients, this recipe makes a rich, comforting meal with an outstanding depth of flavor.
This meal would be perfect with a robust red wine — like a fruit-forward and acidic Cabernet Sauvignon. We recommend trying the Grant Burge Benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon. They’re a great pairing because the juicy acidity of this Cabernet Sauvignon matches the tomatoes, while the bold charcuterie and cedar notes of its profile match the heartiness of the meatballs.
Chianti and Penne all'arrabbiata
Primarily vegetable-based pastas — such as arrabbiata — can be tricky to pair with wine as they tend to be high in acidity, which can overwhelm many options. Plus, this pasta dish can vary in depth and flavor as well. Once you add in basil, garlic, and cheese, you will need a nice light red wine with moderate complexity to match.
With this arrabbiata recipe, it’s hard to go wrong with a “go local” approach. This recipe with fresh herbs and tomato sauce will go well with a glass of Chianti from Tuscany, like Melini Neocampana Chianti DOCG 2017. They both have high acidity and vibrancy, which makes for a complementary pairing.
Making a good wine and dinner pairing when your pantry is down to its staples can be tough, but entirely doable. There are plenty of fascinating wine pairings you can make with just a few ingredients, and a good bottle of wine.
Want to restock your cooler for your next wine dinner? Check out Ralph’s Wines & Spirits' full wine collection here. From Cabernet Sauvignons to Zinfandels, we carry all the styles of wine you need for a perfect dinner at home.