Puttanesca is one of our favourite pasta dishes. A Neapolitan speciality, with a slightly unfortunate name (puttanesca basically means ‘whore’), like the city itself it’s gutsy, punchy and unforgettable. Combining anchovies, capers, garlic, chillies, tomatoes and black olives, Puttanesca certainly isn’t for the faint hearted.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of making this dish, here is a recipe. Get cooking!
As for the wine pairing, that combination of ingredients is pretty challenging: spicy, piquant, and salty. You could try a fairly powerful local white, like Fiano di Avellino. But we’ve found that the local red, made with Aglianico, is a great match.
Today’s Wine Pairing: Wine Pairing: Aglianico x Puttanesca
Aglianico is renowned as the most noble southern Italian red variety. It’s top expressions are found in the Taurasi and Aglianico del Vulture DOCGs in Campania and Basilicata respectively. These are powerful, tannic, rich wines made for long aging. But younger versions, often made under IGT rules, can be lighter and made for early drinking.
The one we enjoyed with the Puttanesca was made by one of our favourite Campanian producers, Caggiano. They make a wonderfully intense Taurasi, but the ‘baby brother’ version “Tauri”, retains Aglianico’s high acidity – perfect for matching the tomatoes and olives in the dish – and the grape’s savoury notes allied to bright fruit flavours. It’s a gutsy wine for a gutsy dish but not too heavy to overwhelm a pasta sauce.