Wine Pairing: Garlic Basil Tomato Sauce and Spaghettini

This recipe for garlic basil tomato sauce is so quick and simple, it eliminates any need for store-bought tomato sauce ever again.

I'm going back to the basics with wine and beer pairings. Yes, I think you should totally make beef carbonnade and pair it with a delicious Belgian dubbel, but let's be honest here--no one is making beef carbonnade on a daily basis. But I bet you have spaghetti and tomato sauce at least, say, once a month? Once a week?

In my quest to stop buying pre-made, packaged food, I can't tell you the last time I bought a jar of prepared spaghetti sauce. The thought of being able to just open a jar and heat it up on those lazy weeknights is somewhat appealing, but nothing beats making your own sauce, especially when its so easy! Especially this one that uses minimal ingredients and can be whipped up in 30 minutes. Too easy!

The Pairing

I said I was going back to basics on these wine pairings, so here goes: the winning wine with spaghetti and tomato sauce is, Chianti! "Womp Womp" you may think. But let me tell you that it is, and always will be, a winning match. Chianti has unfortunately received a bad reputation in the last few decades thanks to cheap bottles on tables of Italian restaurants. But Chianti, a very traditional, sangiovese-based blend from central Italy, can be one of the best wines to pair with food. Sangiovese is a grape with very high acidity which makes it incredible with high-acid foods (like tomatoes). Chianti can be light and easy-drinking, or rich with great depth, allowing it to stand up to a variety of dishes from basic sauces to meat-filled lasagnas. This particular sauce I made was very simple, using only garlic, basil, and tomatoes to create. The chianti I chose somehow successfully melded with all the flavors while also bringing each flavor out into the spotlight. Want to learn more about Chianti (and Chianti Classico, Rufina, Riserva and Superiore) and why its so great with tomato sauce? Find out more here.

Other Wines to Pair with Tomato Sauce

As I pointed out in my info-post on Chianti, its one of those bottles you should always have at your house because, well, you're probably going to have spaghetti and tomato sauce sometime soon. And Chianti will dress up the meal so easily. But if you don't have any on hand, don't panic, because there are some other great wines that will pair with Tomato Sauce nicely.

  • Other Italian Sangiovese: Chianti is predominantly sangiovese which is why it pairs so well with tomatoes. But other areas of Italy also make it, so look for a bottle that says "sangiovese" or many of the other wines listed below that are actually the same grape.
    • Brunello di Montalcino (a much more expensive and bigger example of sangiovese)
    • Rosso di Montalcino
    • Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
    • Carmignano
    • Domestic Sangiovese: lots of great examples are coming out of the Sierra Foothills of California
    • Canaiolo
    • Barbera

The Recipe

I used spaghettini, a form of pasta thinner than spaghetti but thicker than angel hair, in this recipe. Any of your favorite pasta shapes will do just fine though. Also, don't feel compelled to use my recipe in making a tomato sauce and Chianti wine pairing! This wine pairing should work with most tomato sauces, even the store-bought kind (if you're feeling lazy!).

Garlic Basil Tomato Sauce

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 25 mins

Total time: 30 mins

Serves: 4


  • 2 cups of canned imported Italian tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces if needed (or use any good quality canned tomatoes)
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil
  • 1 lb pasta


  1. Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil. Place pasta in the pot and cook 8-10 minutes or until al dente (note: if cooking spaghetti, fettucine, etc, do not break apart the noodles if they don't fit! Just wait for them to soften and fall into the pot themselves). Drain and rinse.
  2. In a large saucepan, empty the tomatoes with their juices, the minced garlic, olive oil, salt and a pinch of pepper. Heat the pan with all ingredients to medium high. Bring to a decent simmer, then reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse the basil and pat dry with paper towels. Tear the basil into small pieces (consult my pictures for a good sized-basil).
  4. When the sauce is done, remove from heat and stir in the basil pieces. Combine the pasta into the sauce mixture, stir, and serve immediately.

Happy Pairing!