A pan of piping-hot baked pasta, decadently sauced with a creamy, cheese-enriched bechamel sauce and enlivened by the freshness of pesto? What could be a better meal for a chilly evening? Well, you could take this comforting meal to greater heights by pairing it with a fine Italian wine that doesn't break the bank. Here are three affordable red wines to contemplate while you peruse this baked ziti recipe:
Dolcetto means "little sweet one", but this is a dry red wine that goes great with everything from pasta to pizza. A very food-friendly wine from Piedmont in Northern Italy.
Best known as the classic grape of Tuscany, check out Chianti. Sangiovese is the star of this storied wine and wine region, and helps define what casual and pleasurable wine-drinking is all about.
Head to Southern Italy to enjoy this bold, spicy grape. It has a kinship with Zinfandel that will make fans of California Zin take note when their glass is filled with Primitivo.
When it comes to specific producers, ask your friendly wine pro at a local shop what they would recommend. There are many producers of each grape listed above, and deals to be had, so why not buy a couple bottles of each from different wineries? It's a great way to learn about a grape and a region. I bet you won't have any problems getting volunteers to taste test at the dinner table.
Jameson Fink has been working in the wine industry and blogging about wine since 2004. Saveur Magazine nominated his site, jamesonfink.com, for a 2013 Best Food Blog Award in the Wine/Beer Category. He is a tireless advocate for year-round rosé consumption and enjoys a glass of Champagne alongside a bowl of popcorn.