A carbonara-style pasta recipe makes do with what's on hand: sausage instead of pancetta or guanciale, and asparagus instead of the peas that some cooks stir in. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Photo: Bill Hogan/TNS
Photo: Bill Hogan/TNS

Wines to make your carbonara sing

For a dish such as this one, full of richness, spice and the pairing nightmare that is asparagus, go for wines with lots of fruit and bright, fresh acidity. Specifically, look to Austria for a gruner veltliner, or stay closer to home with a chardonnay or gamay from California. Even on a Monday, you should enjoy your wine pairing.




Cook 1 pound spaghetti in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile, break 4 eggs into a large bowl; whisk in 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan; set aside. Cook 2 Italian sausages in a skillet until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes; chop coarsely. Cut 1 pound asparagus into 2-inch lengths; simmer in a saucepan of salted water, 5 minutes; drain. Drain the spaghetti well; add to the bowl with the eggs. Toss to coat all the strands; add sausage and asparagus. Season generously with pepper. Toss to combine; serve, passing more grated Parmesan at the table. Makes: 4 servings 

Recipe by Joe Gray 


Pairings by Nate Redner, beverage director of Booth One, as told to Michael Austin: 

2015 Weingut Fred Loimer Lois Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria: With herbaceous notes and lots of zippy acidity to help cut the fat of the eggs, sausage and cheese, this wine will also address the ever-difficult task of asparagus-pairing. The wine’s peppery character will complement and accentuate some of the peppery spice in the dish too. 

2014 Stuhlmuller Estate Chardonnay, Alexander Valley, California: This wine offers ripe orchard fruit, weighty texture and Meyer lemon-like acidity, which will lift the dish. Though aged in oak, the wine is fresh and bright, which will keep the rich dish from being too heavy. The wine also has complementary herbal notes reminiscent of thyme and rosemary. 

2015 RPM Wines Gamay Noir, Sierra Foothills, California: This wine, at 12.8 percent alcohol, is vibrant and clean. Showing savory components and tart red fruits, it has plenty of acidity to cut through the fat of the sausage and the salty Parmesan cheese. It also has enough fruit character to stand up to black pepper and asparagus.

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