The Asparagus Challenge… and the Wine Solution

bunch of raw, green asparagusThe herbaceous nature of asparagus makes it among the more challenging foods to pair with wine.

Even white asparagus (the result of applying a blanching technique while the asparagus shoots are growing), which is extremely popular in parts of Europe, presents a paring challenge despite its not-quite-as-bitter flavor profile.

The best food and wine pairings require some similarities between the food and wine. Because it often exhibits an herbaceous quality of its own, Sauvignon Blanc — the featured varietal in today’s Cyber Circle sampler— has proved to be a reliable pairing partner for asparagus.

Try Sauvignon Blanc with this dish, and see how the herbal character of the wine complements the assertive flavor of the asparagus.

This recipe yields 8 servings.



  • 1 (16-oz.) package dried penne pasta
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • ½-cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼-cup Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente (about 8 to 10 minutes). Drain, and set aside.
  1. Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken, and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  1. Cook until chicken is cooked through and browned (about 5 minutes). Remove chicken to paper towels.
  1. Pour chicken broth into the skillet. Then stir in asparagus, garlic, and a pinch more garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  1. Cover, and steam until asparagus is just tender (about 5 to 10 minutes). Return chicken to skillet, and warm through.
  1. Stir chicken mixture into pasta, and mix well. Let sit about 5 minutes.
  1. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, stir again, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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Tomorrow: Another Sauvignon Blanc-friendly recipe — to help you finish off the bottle!

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Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
One comment on “The Asparagus Challenge… and the Wine Solution
  1. […] yesterday’s blog, we talked about how challenging it is to pair wine with asparagus, and offered Sauvignon Blanc as […]

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