White wine pasta sauces are so versatile and delicious that you can use them to create literally hundreds of dishes. This sauce can be varied to complement chicken, pork, veal, soups, shrimp, and vegetables. With slight variations you can create a garlic white wine sauce, lemon white wine sauce, buttery white wine sauce, or a simple creamy white wine sauce. There is even a way to make this rich, decadent sauce with less saturated fat and lower calories while keeping the rich, creamy texture and wonderful taste.
Which White Wine should I Use?
If you have decided to create a dish using a white wine pasta sauce, the first question to answer is “which wine should I choose?” First we will avoid cooking wine at all costs. Any wine labeled as cooking wine is usually not fit to drink. If you wouldn’t drink the wine you shouldn’t cook with it either. Most recipes call for less than a full bottle of wine so you should also be able to have a glass or two left to drink with your meal. This makes the choice of which wine to serve with the meal a no brainer. The flavors in your sauce will complement the flavor of your wine flawlessly. Dry white wines should be used for cooking when you don’t want to add sweetness to the dish. As you cook using wine the alcohol will evaporate which will extract the flavor of the wine and add it to the dish. Do not add too much wine to the dish because it will cause it to be difficult to reduce.
Chardonnays are best used for thick and creamy white wine sauces because they have a thick and intense flavor that adds body to the sauce. Chardonnays pair well with cream sauces served with chicken and pasta.
Pinot Grigio is a crisp dry white wine that adds a fruity, mineral character that perfectly complements seafood.
Sauvignon Blanc is a classic light wine with fruity, herbal and floral flavors are perfect for making sauces that will be paired with vegetables. This wine is great for lemon or butter sauces.
Creamy White Wine and Garlic Pasta Sauce
- 1 pound pasta
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine (Chardonnay works best here)
- 1/2 cup chopped flat parsley
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté ingredients until golden, about 1-2 minutes.
3. Add salt, pepper, Chardonnay and, butter.
4. Stir 2 minutes, remove from heat.
5. Cook pasta according to directions, drain
6. Toss pasta with sauce, parsley, and cheese.
This dish is wonderful with grilled or sautéed chicken, shrimp and/or vegetables
Lemon White Wine Pasta Sauce
•1 tbsp. olive oil
•1 shallot, rough chopped
•1/2 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio if you are adding seafood to your pasta, Sauvignon Blanc if vegetables will be added without seafood)
•2 tbsp. butter
•2 tsp. fresh grated lemon peel
•Juice of one lemon
•1 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1. Sauté the shallot in the olive oil until it becomes soft, about 1 ½ minutes.
2. Add ½ cup white wine and bring to a boil. Boil for three to five minutes, until it is reduced by half.
3. Strain the shallot from the wine, and return the wine to the pan. Discard the shallot.
4. Add the butter to the white wine reduction, and cook over medium low heat until the butter melts. Remove from heat.
5. Whisk in the lemon peel, lemon juice and parsley. Set aside and keep warm until ready to use.
6. Cook pasta according to directions, drain.
This sauce is wonderful over pasta with shrimp or seafood. Use a Pinot Grigio in your sauce for this pairing. For a light, summer meal try this sauce made with a Sauvignon Blanc and toss in fresh sautéed vegetables.
Butter White Wine Pasta Sauce
This recipe serves two so consider it for a romantic date night or you can double or triple the recipe and feed the whole family.
- ½ pound of pasta, cooked and drained
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tbsp. cold butter, cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup white wine (Sauvignon Blanc is the one to choose for this sauce)
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for garnish
- Shaved parmesan cheese for garnish (optional but gives a nice touch to the dish)
1. Add one tablespoon of butter to a medium size skillet and melt over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and stir until soft, 2-3 minutes.
2. Stir in wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes. Add butter, cube by cube, stirring until each one is melted into the sauce.
3. When all the butter is melted, stir in the chopped thyme.
4. Drizzle a generous portion of sauce over each serving of pasta and, garnish with fresh thyme and shaved parmesan.
This sauce is excellent with chicken, seafood, and/or vegetables. Any type of pasta will work but consider mushroom stuffed ravioli for a rich elegant dish.
Cream White Wine Pasta Sauce
1 pound fettuccine pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Cook pasta according to package directions, strain
- While the pasta cooks, set a large 12-inch sauté pan over medium high heat, and add the olive oil and the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic to the pan and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Deglaze the pan with wine and cook until it is nearly evaporated, about 30 seconds.
- Add the cream, salt and pepper to the pan and let the cream reduce by half, 4 to 5 minutes. If the pasta is not yet cooked, turn the fire off the sauce while the pasta continues to cook.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with the cheese and the parsley.
- Use tongs or two large forks to stir the sauce into the pasta and serve while hot.
This dish is pure comfort food. Slip on some fuzzy slippers and enjoy!
Healthier White Wine Pasta Sauce
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- 12 oz linguine pasta
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 8 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)
- 1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1/4 cup fresh chives
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water. Consider using whole wheat pasta to add to the healthy nature of this recipe.
2. Using a 10-inch skillet, heat olive oil.
3. Next, add 1/3 cup of shallots. Sir the shallots frequently while cooking for two minutes
4. Add garlic, sage, oregano, rosemary, and 1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook 1 minute, stirring.
5. Add ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth and wine (Chardonnay).
6. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium; cook about 5 minutes or until reduced by half, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
7. Add finely chopped basil and parsley; set aside.
8. Drain pasta and return to saucepot. Stir in wine mixture along with herbs, and reserved pasta water. Toss well.
9. Top with Parmesan. Garnish with parsley.
While this dish will not make anyone’s most healthy list it does cut out some of the fat and calories found in the other recipes. Using olive oil instead of butter and herbs to add rich flavor makes this a splurge that won’t un-do your hard work in the gym.