Wine pairings for Pennette con le Olive Nere e Pecorino
This pasta’s trio of black olives, Pecorino and anchovies pack in a lot of salty savoriness. The black olives work better with reds and rosatos (green olives would favor whites), particularly reds with some gaminess to them. However, as this is a meatless dish, it is better to stick with medium body wines rather than a bruiser over 14% alcohol. Puglian wines are generally a great, mid-weight match.
Puglian rosatos are decidedly dry, but they have a generous fruitiness – whatever their blend may be – that reflects the intense sunshine the region receives. Serve them cool rather than cold to allow their flavors to meld best with this dish.
In the red category, a riserva made without new oak (which would contribute unwelcome sweet flavors like vanilla and chocolate) has the turbo-charged fruit concentration to enhance this pasta’s complexity. The riserva suggested here is Negroamaro splashed with 5% of the aromatic Malvasia Nera. Basic bottlings work, too. Just about any Puglian variety you prefer will match. I slightly prefer the earthier Negroamaro to the fruitier Primitivo for this dish. If a wine whose grape variety means “bitter black” sounds too intense for you, try the Rosso normale, which has Malvasia Nera and Montepulciano blended in to soften it up a bit.
Check out our recipe for Pennette con le Olive Nere e Pecorino.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)