shaliza somani -food and wine pairings- blog heder

If you enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, you know how much fun it is to create delicious dishes that you can enjoy either on your own or with a group of friends. Especially if you are cooking for a number of individuals, it is exciting to conjure up recipe ideas and turn them into flavorful dishes.

Every cook, whether a professional or an amateur, knows that the best dishes are the ones that tell a story from start to finish. Every protein, vegetable, sauce, and spice must complement one another; anything you add to a dish must be included with a purpose. Just like all ingredients must pair well together, any additional element to the meal must also be intentionally chosen.

What goes well with any meal you serve? Wine! You are going to want to make sure that you are pairing your dish with the proper wine. It may be tempting to go to the store and simply pick up your favorite bottle of wine, but you are doing an injustice to the food that you have spent time planning for, prepping, and cooking. You want to enhance the dish by ensuring that every bite of food melts on your tastebuds and is harmonious with every sip on wine that is enjoyed throughout the course of the meal.

Here are the most enticing food and wine pairings, whether you plan to enjoy them on your own or impress your guests at your next dinner party:

Penne alla Vodka


This is not a complicated dish to make, which means that you won’t have to spend the entire day laboring in the kitchen. The mentality that a complicated dish will not only taste better, but will be more impressive to your guests, is ludicrous. Despite the ingredient list and cooking process being simple, Penne alla Vodka can be a challenging dish to pair with wine due to the richness of the cream and the brightness of the tomatoes. Typically, if you chose to serve a creamy dish, you would pair it with a white wine, which has more acid to cut the creaminess on your palate. With tomato-based dishes, you would typically serve them with bright, balanced reds.

In the case of Penne alla Vodka, when there is a mix of creaminess and brightness, I would opt for either a light-bodied, high-acid wine or an aromatic white. For a white wine, you can try Willm Gewurztraminer Reserve Alsace. For a red wine, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Dragani would be your best bet.

Flank Steak


If you wanted to make a dish that was a little more involved than a Penne alla Vodka dish, try a flank steak. When cooked medium, the meat will refine tannins in the wine so you can opt for a wine that has a bit more structure in it. The bitterness of charred meats pairs satisfactorily with fruitier red wines, like a cabernet sauvignon. Yalumba Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon and Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon are both fantastic options – and all for under 20 dollars!