In pasta and rice dishes, the sauce and the seasonings are key because they are the dominant components.
A carbonara sauce with ham or bacon, egg and cream is very different in terms of content, aroma and consistency to a tomato-based Napoletana sauce. A saffron risotto and an asparagus risotto each call for different accompanying wines. The cooking method, and even the time of day and season, also influence the wine selection. One thing, however, is clear: there is a huge range of wines that partner well with the various pasta and rice dishes.
Pasta with fish/seafood
Since rice or pasta with seafood is a relatively light dish, it is better with aromatic, fresh white wines such as Gavi from Piedmont, fruit-laden rosés from Italy or elegant sparkling wine such as Prosecco.
Pasta with meat
Rice or pasta with meat is a heavy and usually strongly seasoned dish and, as such, goes with heavier white wines which most definitely can be barrique-aged, such as a New World Chardonnay. Structured rosé wines and medium-heavy to robust red wines such as Sangiovese from Tuscany or Syrah from Valais also make ideal accompaniments.
Vegetarian pasta or rice dishes
Vegetarian pasta and risottos are usually aromatic and, if required, can be made heavier with the addition of cream and cheese. A crisp, aromatic white wine such as Sauvignon blanc is normally a good bet with vegetable sauces. If cream is involved, brawnier white wines such as Chardonnay work well and, for spicy and piquant sauces such as Napoli, light red wines such as a Gamay from Valais or a Barbera that hasn't been aged in the barrique are good.
Our experts’ wine recommendations for pasta and rice dishes