Top pairings | The best wine pairings for spaghetti puttanesca

Top pairings

The best wine pairings for spaghetti puttanesca

Spaghetti puttanesca - or 'whore’s spaghetti' to translate it literally - is a full-flavoured pasta dish with strong, punchy flavours but which wine should you match with it?

There are various theories about how the dish - a comparatively recent invention - got its name, the most plausible being that it was a simple storecupboard dish that could be slung together between clients’ visits.

The sauce which contains garlic, anchovies, capers, chillies and olives is quite a lot for any wine to handle. My preference, given the base is cooked tomatoes, would be for a southern Italian red - even a basic carafe wine would do.

  • Sicilian and southern Italian reds such as nero d’avola, negroamara and primitivo
  • Inexpensive zinfandel (you don’t want one that’s too extracted or high in alcohol with this punchy pasta sauce)
  • Barbera - from Northern Italy or elsewhere - always a good wine with a rustic dish
  • Inexpensive Portuguese reds from the Alentejo - ripe and supple, they make a good stand-in for an Italian red
  • and if you fancy a white try a crisp southern Italian white such as Falanghina or Greco

Needless to say if you’re making the dish with another type of pasta like penne the recommendations would be the same. You match the sauce not the pasta shape.

See also Wines to match different pasta sauces

Photo by being0828 is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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Comments: 1 (Add)

Martha on October 4 2016 at 11:36

Thank you for including the Alentejo reds in your recommendations. This is a wonderful part of Portugal with fabulouos people and wines. I don't think it gets enough attention. I love their voluptuous silky, very drinkable reds.

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