Wine Pairing By Jim Schwabe

Years ago, going to a local Italian restaurant to eat spaghetti for a Friday-night-out with friends was always a treat. To me it brings back memories of boisterous story-telling, laughter and the constant clink of silverware on the broad white plates. And to drink? Usually a few straw-wrapped bottles of Chianti. That was about all our budget could afford, and also the extent of the restaurant's wine list.

Now, we pay much more attention to what wines work well with foods, complementing each other to bring together a better experience. To stand up to the richness of the meat and tanginess in the tomato sauce the best pairing is a red wine with spice and a good acid level. Many Italian reds such as a Montalchino or barbera are good choices, but you can also try a full bodied Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon. For this recipe we chose the Baccarossa Cabernet. It’s a full-bodied and well balanced wine, with a wonderful black cherry undertone. A sensational Cab for a sensational spaghetti. 
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Sensational Spaghetti
Sensational Spaghetti By Jen Sommerness

Springtime often makes people think of flowers, sunshine, budding green leaves, rain showers and the anticipation of summer. In my house, there are a few additional things you can count on during the spring season. Baseball, an increase in homework load as the school year comes to the end, and a generally hectic schedule that doesn’t allow for much creative time in the kitchen. It is not uncommon for us to need to be at three different baseball fields at one time, going directly from school to our evening activities, returning home late and unfed, just in time to sit down and do homework before going to bed.

It is exactly times such as spring that I think of tasty, satisfying, simple homemade recipes. I may not have much time to spend in the kitchen during this season, but I insist on preparing food that will nourish these busy boys!

This recipe is a standby in our house. It is a favorite to us all, not only because of how it tastes, but how easy it is to prepare, and how flexible it allows us to be as a family. It takes such a short time to put together, and then all you need to do is let it simmer gently while you go about your business. If you don’t have a lot of time to let it simmer, that is OK. It will taste great anyway.

This time I put a pound of spicy Italian sausage in it, as well as a pound of ground beef. The original recipe calls for a half pound each of ground beef, pork and veal. It is excellent that way as well. Make it with what you like best. The sauce is the bright component of this dish, so you could omit the meat altogether if you would like. 
It is a classic dish, and by far my absolute favorite spaghetti sauce I have yet to find. Enjoy! And happy spring!

Sensational Spaghetti

1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound ground beef
1 pound spicy Italian sausage
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 6-ounce cans of tomato paste
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoons angostura bitters
1 tablespoon sugar
½ Cup red wine
½ teaspoon salt (more to taste)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon celery salt (may need more to taste)
2 bay leaves
2 dashes cayenne pepper
1 pound pasta, cooked al dente
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


In a large, heavy sauce pan or Dutch oven, sauté onion and garlic in the butter and olive oil until transparent. Add meat and brown over medium heat. Add green pepper, tomato paste, tomatoes, Worcestershire, bitters, sugar, wine, salt, pepper, celery salt, bay leaves and cayenne pepper. Stir together, and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. If you can, allow it to simmer for up to 3 hours – that is the BEST, but even simmering for a half hour will result in very tasty sauce. Serve with your favorite pasta, and sprinkle with cheese! Enjoy!