This Sunday Pasta delivers quintessential comfort food to your fork. But, how do you handle those rustic and wintery chestnuts? If you’ve never roasted chestnuts on one of those proverbial open fires or picked up a sack from a Manhattan street vendor, this could be perplexing.
Chestnuts offer two things here: mild but inherently sweet, nutty tones and decided starchiness. This means there will be mid-tone nuttiness (think hazelnuts versus lighter almonds or heavier walnuts) and plenty of mouthcoating texture and weight. Interestingly, were I to extract the walnuts from the lasagna, I’d serve the same wines with regard to the remaining flavors and simply chose wines slightly lighter in body.
In the white wine category, I can’t get my mind off the most unsung member of the Pinot family: Pinot Bianco. East of Piemonte, the Alto Adige makes exceptional examples of this variety (far outreaching the best of those of France’s Alsace and Germany’s Baden, in my opinion.) Quite a few producers make tremendous Pinot Bianco varietal wines as well as Pinot Bianco blends that would nicely mesh with this Sunday Pasta.
On the red wine side, Nebbiolo is a siren call to this dish. However, rather than go with a (usually) wallet-whopping Barolo or Barbaresco (and, hey, chestnuts aren’t cheap), I’m thinking of one of Piemonte’s less well-known denominazione, like Carema, Gattinara and Gheme. All hailing from slightly more northerly and higher altitude sites than Barolo and Barbaresco, this trio of appellations shows less tannin and more finesse, making them drinkable at a younger age. That makes them highly desirable in this day and age of immediate satisfaction, especially when your cellar may not be rich in ready-to-drink Barolo and Barbaresco!
Master of Wine (MW)
Click here for Lagane con Castagne e Salsiccia (Chestnuts)