Many Italians fast 40 days before Easter as a religious tradition but before fasting, it is always good to stock up on some of your favorite treats. Fat Tuesday before Carnevale is the best day to get in a typical Italian dish such as lasagna! Two or more layers of lasagna pasta with an array of choice for fillings from the classic meat sauce lasagna, filled with ricotta, pecorino cheese, eggs, caciocavallocheese and sometimes even salami or dried sausage from southern Italy. The most important part of lasagna preparation is to remember that this is an indulgent food which is meant to be full-bodied and is meant to satisfy the palate. What wine best pairs with a meal like this? A dry, structured wine with silky tannins. In southern Italy – home of lasagna – the wines they typically pair with their lasagna are Aglianico from Campania or a Primitivo from Salento.
In Central and Northern Italy, some of the best wines to pair with lasagna would be a Nobile di Montepulciano which is less aggressive than its Southern counterparts, and a bit more graceful in structure. Other wines include a Barbera del Monferrato or a Valpolicella Ripasso. The choices of wine that Italy offers to pair with this delicious dish are countless! If you are craving a white lasagna without meat sauce, you will want to focus more on autumnal flavors such as pumpkin cream sauce, sausage, porcini mushrooms, and bechamel sauce. Just the presence of mushrooms, combined with the fatty sensation of the sausage and the delicate consistency of the pumpkin calls for a structured white wine such as a Chardonnay, Verdicchio from Marche or an Umbrian Grechetto. All soft, fresh wines with a solid alcohol content, which perfectly cleans the palate of residual fat. An alternative to white? It is difficult to combine mushrooms with red wines without suffering from a metallic aftertaste due to the clash of tannins (yes, tannins are also present in mushrooms). Best red wine match would be a Dogajolo Rosato?
And what about those who eat neither meat nor dairy? Not to worry! Veggie lasagna is definitely the way to go. A veggie lasagna has endless options and can include mushrooms, red onions, zucchini, broccoli, carrots and tomatoes seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and even thyme for a bit more flavor. Bind it all together with a good does of vegan bechamel made with rice milk, vegetable margarine and nutmeg and you have got one delicious meal ahead. What’s the best wine to pair with this vegan dish? A Tuscan Vermentino is a great wine to match the delicate consistency of the vegetables and the flavors of the vegetables!