How to Pair Pasta Like an Italian Chef
The perfect pasta dinner, made easy.
BY VICKI MARTINEZ
To develop a fabulous flavor profile, choosing the right combination of ingredients is crucial. With a pasta dish, the pasta shape you choose also makes a big difference. Barilla America executive chef, Lorenzo Boni shares some unique pasta recommendations. The next time pasta is on the menu, try one of these superb pasta pairings.
Thin Spaghetti with Spicy Sausage and Brussel Sprouts
Yes, by combining a long, slender pasta with a meat sauce, this recipe departs from the conventional guidelines for sauce and pasta pairings. Chef Lorenzo explains why this works so well: “The sausage ends up very finely ground, creating a slightly oily meat ragout, which keeps the pasta from clumping and sticking together. It coats the thin spaghetti perfectly.”
Which Wine? Choose a full-bodied wine. It will stand up well with the rich, assertive flavors of the dish. Try: Primitivo or a Zinfandel
Rigatoni with Seafood
Again, the Chef flips the script on standard sauce-pasta pairs. The secret is the choice of pasta. “Mezzi rigatoni are the perfect ‘host’ for all kinds of shellfish,” says Chef Lorenzo. Mezzi rigatoni is shorter and has a wider diameter than other tube-shaped pasta. The pasta is easily infused with flavors from the sauce both inside and out, while trapping bits of seafood for the perfect bite every time.
Which Wine? Choose a wine with a more delicate flavor to complement lighter and milder pasta recipes, like this olive oil-based seafood pasta. Try: Pinot Grigio
Legume Pasta | Red Lentil Rotini with Rosemary Chicken Ragout & Romano Cheese
Gluten-free and rich in fiber and protein, this pasta is more popular than ever. Perhaps you've thought about trying it out, but aren't sure what pairs well with a legume pasta’s earthy, nutty flavor?
Here’s what Chef Lorenzo recommends for this plant-powered pasta:
- Olive oil-based sauces
- Any variety of vegetable
- Aromatic herbs, such as marjoram, thyme, parsley, basil (of course)
- Aged cheese, like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago and Pecorino Romano
“Legume pasta is a source of protein, so there's no need to add more, but it does pair well with lean meats and seafood,” Chef Lorenzo says.
Which Wine? Choose a crisp wine with subtle fruit flavors to complement any legume pasta. Try: Friulano or a Rosé
Chef’s Tip: This pasta naturally soaks up liquids, so always keep a small amount of cooking water on hand to add to the sauce, if needed. Ready for more legume pasta? The Legume Pasta Recipe Builder from Barilla makes it easy to customize pasta dishes with the flavors you enjoy, and ensures you get the perfect pairing every time.
Recipes courtesy of Chef Lorenzo Boni. He is the Executive Chef for Barilla America and grew up with a passion for Italian food in Bologna, Italy. Lorenzo is responsible for product and recipe development, as well as managing the culinary execution of all Barilla events.