All the Reasons to Use Red Wine in Pasta Sauce

Spend some time making homemade pasta sauce, and you’ve probably used red wine. And if you’ve ever used jarred pasta sauce in a pinch, you may have noticed red wine on the label. That’s because a splash of red is a simple way to dramatically elevate the flavors in your pasta sauce (and a number of other dishes). The trick is in understanding a few things, like the role of the alcohol and how much to use. Here are all the reasons to use red wine in pasta sauce

Flavor Boost

The alcohol in your red wine has an interesting dissolving effect on the fats (like olive oil or butter) in your sauce. The result is the release of their flavors, which contributes to the sauce as a whole. Keep in mind that a splash of wine needs time so the alcohol can sufficiently cook off. It will leave behind all the flavor without the bite. Start with a cup of red wine and cook down your infused sauce until about half of the wine is gone for a nuanced, concentrated flavor.

Acidity Balance

Using the right red wine is also important. Low-acid wines, like Merlot, can be easily overpowered by the acidity in many tomato sauces. A Sangiovese, on the other hand, perfectly completes tomato sauce. But don’t just grab the cheapest bottle on the shelf. If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t use it in your sauce!

And here’s a pro tip – white wine often works just as well as red if you’re trying to add a little flavor and depth to tomato sauce. While red wine bumps up the richness for a more robust sauce, white wine contributes a delicate fruity flavor that’s unexpected and often delightful.

At La Famiglia, we know the difference a hearty splash of good wine makes to a dish. We invite you to make a reservation and come see for yourself!

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