Welcome in the Italian Summer With Wine and Pesto

flat-pasta-noodle-with-green-sauce-dish-and-cherry-tomato-on-1435896Basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, Pecorino, extra virgin olive oil, salt.

Seven ingredients.

Simple to prepare.

A staple of the Italian summer.

Say hello — or welcome back — to pesto alla Genovese, a.k.a., simply, as pesto.

This classic sauce traces its roots to Genoa, part of the Liguria region on the Mediterranean coast, northwest of Tuscany. It’s both pungent in aroma and assertive in flavor. A glance at the ingredients explains that.

Yet it is those alluring traits as a sauce that can make it somewhat challenging to pair with food. In fact, some would say that it’s next to impossible.

Not true.

When it comes to Italian food and wine, it’s almost always a safe bet to pair region with region. There’s even an old saying about this truism: “If it grows together, it goes together.”

While the most common dish prepared with pesto is pasta, there are other possibilities.

You may want to shake up the classic pizza recipe and replace the tomato sauce with a layer of pesto on the base of the pie.

Or, spice up your soup on a cool summer evening with Minestrone alla Genovese. Simply prepare your soup per usual, ladle it into bowls, and then add a dollop of pesto.

For a classic, easy-to-prepare treat, grab a loaf of rustic country bread, drizzle it with olive oil and toast it in the oven, then spread on some burrata cheese and top with pesto.

Now for the wine. In general, you can pour either white or red wine with pesto-infused dishes. The key is to select a wine that does not have overt oak flavors, but rather emphasizes fruit notes.

For the ultimate pairing partner, follow the “If it grows together, it goes together” mantra and opt for the white wine known as Vermentino, noted for its refreshing acidity and rich flavors of tropical fruit.

Two other simpatico pairing partners for pesto: Sauvignon Blanc and fruit-forward Malbec.

When you pour a wine that complements the personality of this flavorful sauce, it’s the next-best thing to being in Italy.

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Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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