My Perfect Pairings: Pesto Lasagna with Robola
By Yiannis Karakasis MW
There are two schools of wine and food matching. Either one chooses a harmonious match, where the dominant characteristics of a dish are equivalent to those of a wine, or a contrasting match. For example, a creamy pasta dish could theoretically match an oaked Vidiano or counter a tank-fermented Assyrtiko. The creamy/buttery element of the former is complementary to the dish, whereas the sharp acidity of the latter balances the oiliness of the dish.
Which is the best combination is purely subjective; exactly this diversity makes the whole journey in the world of wine magically fascinating.
In this new column, I will be giving my favourite pairings. Pairings to dishes that are not very complex or complicated; everyday dishes that I especially love and which deserve the best wine company. To begin with, I will be suggesting Greek varieties, but do not be surprised if something else comes up.
Enjoy the ride.
I do not know about you, but I can never resist good Italian pasta. And although a tomato based sauce definitely has a deep flavour, I find the white versions more charming. Probably because they are more layers in terms of flavour. If we take the simplest Italian pasta, a cacio e pepe, there is the creamy character, the pepper and the salt from the cheese. Let's go to the next level now and talk about pesto lasagna.
My daughter eats pesto with everything, on her hot dog, on her toast, on her burger and even on her simple tomato sauce pasta. The only thing she doesn’t put it on is her chocolate soufflé! According to her, pesto has something different, a freshness that is elusive. And although she agrees to walnut pesto, I have not convinced her (unfortunately) about pistachio pesto, which I adore.
In terms of wine matches, the dish has a clearly creamy character that would lead someone towards a wine with much acidity. Nevertheless, the freshness of the pesto, its herbal nature, leads me towards something softer and more appealing. What better than a lemony Robola, with its signature herbal, fennel aromas. The meeting appeals both to the nose and to the palate. As we take our sip, the perfect marriage arises, where everything blends beautifully, and you think to yourself, Bingo!
Pesto lasagna with pistachio, thyme, lemon, mortadella and provolone piccante (Napul’e restaurant)
Wine pairings: Orealios Gaea San Gerasimo, Petrakopoulos Thymari Petra, Sclavos Vino di Sasso.
Illustration for karakasis.mw: Manolis Moumalidis (Mouma)