What We’re Craving This Month: Fall Pastas

fall pasta

While I understand that technically there are a couple more weeks of summer left to go, it couldn’t feel more like fall in NYC these days. The ever-too-frequent cold, gray, drizzliness makes me daydream about curling up with a good book and a cozy blanket. And, alright…I am not too proud to admit this…it also makes me daydream about pasta – big, steaming bowls of hearty, soul-soothing pasta. So, from our kitchen to yours, here are some of our favorite pasta dishes for September, perfectly paired with some outrageously delicious wines. Drink, eat, daydream…all would be infinitely preferable to venturing outside in a gloomy late-summer storm.

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sweet Italian Sausage and Garlic, topped with Grated Pecorino Romano
Paired with Langhe Dolcetto “Gola”, Bricco del Cucu, 2008

The standout flavors in this dish are the bitter notes of the broccoli rabe, the meatiness and sweet fennel seed elements from the sausage, and the assertive punch of the Pecorino cheese. Dolcetto, an easy-going, fruity red made in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, is and absolutely perfect foil for each of these ingredients. Its simple fruitiness plays nicely against the bitter notes of the rabe, and firm tannins in the wine cut right through the fat from the sausage and the bold flavor of the cheese.

Spaghetti with Garlic, Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce & Clams
Paired with Fiano di Avellino, Ciro Picariello, 2008

It’s common to reach for red wine to accompany a tomato-sauced pasta, but the delicate nature of the clams in this dish make me think white. Fiano di Avellino, grown on the volcanic soils near Mt. Vesuvius in the Campania region of southern Italy, always has a gorgeous mineral note that makes a lovely match for seafood. And Fiano has plenty of inherent acidity to balance out any tartness in your tomato sauce.

Fettuccini with Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, Sage and Brown Butter
Paired with Pouilly-Fuissé Réserve Vielles Vignes, Labouré Roi, 2007

Pouilly-Fuissé is a region in Burgundy, France which produces white wines made from 100% Chardonnay. The Chardonnay grape has enough oomph to stand up to more assertive vegetables like brussel sprouts and mushrooms, without overwhelming them.

But my very favorite part of this dish is the brown butter – you have not truly lived until you’ve enjoyed white Burgundy with brown butter. The ever-so-subtle hint of creamy oak in the wine perfectly accents the richness here, creating a nice balance. This is a great example of a complementary pairing rather than a contrasting one. Instead of looking for a wine with tons of acidity to cut through the fattiness of the butter, we’re choosing a full-bodied Chardonnay to stand right up to it. It’s a hedonistic pairing, sure, but bathing suit season is behind us, right?

Feeling ambitious enough to create dishes like these with pasta you’ve made from scratch? We’ll teach you how at the next session of Chef Emily’s hands-on pasta making class at Astor Center on October 10th!