How To Build Dreamy Pasta Dishes Starting With Simple White Wine Sauce

Creamy vino-centric sauces aren't just for wine lovers, especially when it's a simple white wine sauce adorning dreamy pasta dishes. It's one of the most versatile ways to perk up ordinary penne, spaghetti, fettuccine, fusilli, angel hair, or just about any noodle-y shape you can imagine. A sauce made with white wine seamlessly blends with seafood, poultry, herbs, veggies, cured meats, and so much more. It's a cinch to toss in all the goodies, dish it all out, and proclaim: mangia! mangia! (eat, eat!)  

Before expanding your saucy horizons, it's essential to understand the basic structure of a white wine sauce. You'll impress even yourself when a luscious creamy sauce emerges from seven ordinary ingredients: three from your fridge, three from the pantry, and one from the home version of a wine cellar. In other words, just grab a bottle of white wine from the cabinet.

Measurements vary per recipe, but here are the basics. Using the first three ingredients, melt butter in a stovetop sauce and sauté garlic and shallots. Add about a tablespoon of flour for thickening, and build the sauce with equal amounts of white wine and heavy cream or whole milk. Let it simmer for a few minutes over very low heat, stirring to prevent sticking or burning. Then toss in some parmesan cheese, salt, and ground black pepper if desired. Now you've made a luscious white wine sauce. It serves as an edible canvas on which you can make masterpieces for your pasta repertoire.

Simple ways to cook with white wine sauces

White wine for sauce-making doesn't have to be expensive or overly complex. It does, however, need to be one you enjoy drinking. That makes mealtime pairing even easier; just pour the same wine into stovetop pans and tableside glasses. Some good choices for flavorful white wine sauce are sauvignon blanc, unoaked chardonnay, and the three pinots: pinot gris, grigio, and blanc. You want them on the dry side, as sweeter wines can overpower pasta dishes. 

Having created a basic white wine sauce, you can take it in countless directions. Make it a seafood-pasta jamboree with mussels, clams, crab, and shrimp, or toss in some grilled chicken with red peppers, asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, or roasted broccoli. Substitute your homemade sauce into almost any pasta recipe, even ones with beef or ground sausage. 

Granted, cooking with white wine carries a somewhat boujee reputation, especially when paired with seafood royalty such as lobster. But the assumed sophistication is mostly an illusion, evidenced by the simplicity of our buttery lobster spaghetti with white wine-tomato sauce recipe, created by Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye. It's a comprehensive approach in which white wine sauce develops gradually in the progression of the entire dish. After sautéing lobster in butter and removing, the sauce evolves in the same pan, with wine joining crushed garlic, tomatoes, and chili flakes, accentuated later by reserved pasta water, eventually joined by cooked pasta, lobster, aromatic herbs, and lemon juice.