Spicy Bolognese Pasta is a delicious, hearty meal that just begs for the perfect glass of Italian red wine to go along with it. Based on our tasting, we recommend the Ca’Marcanda 2015 Magari to be that wine you pair with the meal. Full disclosure: The wine was sent as a complimentary sample by the winery as part of the Wine Studio program. The opinions are entirely my own.
What to make to go with a special bottle of wine from Ca’Marcanda? A fun question presented by the 2015 Magari ($65, 13.5% ABV) that we had to sample for the March #WineStudio program focused on the Bolgheri winery.
The 2015 Magari is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot. Grape varietals typically associated with France, grown in Italian soil.
Well, I was definitely thinking Italian food to go with this wine from the Tuscan coastal region. The Cab Sauvignon suggested something meaty, but I figured the Cab Franc could handle some spice and a bit of acidity. So I cooked up some Spicy Bolognese Pasta to pair with the Magari red wine blend.
Spicy Bolognese to Suit the Wine
There are a lot of versions of Bolognese, a classic Italian meat sauce, including several right here on Cooking Chat. Our most recent version, Turkey Bolognese Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms, is tasty but a bit light for the big flavors of the Magari.
I had a few considerations when planning the Spicy Bolognese recipe to go with the Magari. As I mentioned, I definitely wanted to feature some beef, as the fat content would go well with the Cabernet Sauvignon. With Cab Franc in the blend, the wine could handle a bit more spice than some other Italian red wines I might pair with a meat sauce.
I wanted to go easy on the tomato in the sauce, as I didn’t think that would be great for this wine. I used about half the amount of canned tomatoes that I have used in other Bolognese sauce recipes, and increased the quantity of beef broth.
A Winning Pairing for Spicy Bolognese Pasta
Sometimes you can put a lot of thought into a food and wine pairing, and it doesn’t turn out quite as you planned. But in the case of the Spicy Bolognese Pasta paired with the 2015 Magari, we have a winning combination! In fact, nearly a quarter of the way into 2018 I would have to say this is easily one of our top food and wine pairings of the year.
The Magari is inky dark purple in the glass. I get eucalyptus on the nose. Cherry fruit with a little green pepper (hello Cab Franc!), a bit of acidity and firm tannins. The two cabs come together with a refined elegance in this wine.
I contemplated decanting the Magari, but decided against it. The wine opened up beautifully in the class over dinner.
Speaking of dinner, our Spicy Bolognese was so good on its own, and greatly enhanced by the wonderful Magari wine. Now, I call this Spicy Bolognese, but it’s not five alarm hot. There’s just enough kick in the sauce to have you reaching for a beverage after a bite. When that beverage is the Magari, you are in luck!
True to plan, the Cab Franc in the Magari helps it work with the spice. The two Cabs together stand up very nicely to all the meat in the dish. The healthy dose of good Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta doesn’t hurt the wine pair, either. This is a pairing to try!
Ca’Marcanda is a beautiful 250-acre estate in Bolgheri, a D.O.C. near the coast in Tuscany. Angelo Gaja developed the state of the art winery after the family purchased it 1996. The name means “House of Endless Negotiations”, based on the many trips it took to negotiate the purchase of the property.
Ca’Marcanda focuses on growing international grape varieties, a meeting of Old World and New World styles to create some exceptional yet accessible Italian wines.
I have had the pleasure of participating in the March 2018 Wine Studio program focusing on Ca’Marcanda, with Twitter chat sessions led by Terlato National Wine Educator Tim Clark. You can get a summary of the topics we’ve covered on Tina’s Wine Studio website.
Be sure to check out my other March #WineStudio wine pairing and recipe for Roasted Beet Orzo.Print
Spicy Bolognese Pasta
Spicy bolognese sauce gets kicked up a notch with garlic, spicy sausage and red pepper. A hearty meal made even better with a glass of good Italian wine.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hr 15 mins
- Total Time: 1 hr 25 mins
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: sauce
- Cuisine: Italian
- 9 ozs Andouille chicken sausage or other spicy sausage
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 lbs ground beef, preferably grass fed
- ½ cup red wine
- 14.5 ozs diced tomatoes
- 2 cups beef broth, low sodium
- ¼ to ⅓ tsp red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you want the sauce
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp marjoram
- Pinch fennel seed
- 1 ½ lbs ziti or other short pasta (see note below about quantity)
- parmesan cheese for topping the pasta
- Coat a large pan with oil spray, and heat on medium high. Add the sausage to brown, turning occasionally. Cook for about 5 minutes until browned. Remove the sausage from the pan, and set aside to cool.
- Add the olive oil to the same pan you cooked the sausage in, and heat on medium. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.
- Add the ground beef to the pan, and cook until it begins to brown, stirring occasionally. After about 5 minutes, stir in the red wine and cook until the wine has been mostly absorbed.
- Stir in the tomatoes and beef broth. Add the red pepper flakes, basil, marjoram. Bring to a simmer.
- Slice the sausage into small bite sized pieced, and stir the sausage into the sauce.
- Simmer the spicy Bolognese sauce for about an hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- After the sauce has been simmering for about 30 minutes, begin cooking the pasta according to package directions.
- When the pasta is done, drain, and toss immediately with the spicy Bolognese sauce. Plate and serve topped with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy with a good glass of Italian red wine!
- If making this recipe for just a few people, you can start by cooking just 1 pound of pasta, and adding the desired amount of sauce. Cook some fresh pasta another night to enjoy with the leftover sauce.
- I try to use grass fed ground beef when possible, as it is higher in omega 3 fatty acids and other health benefits.
- I often use chicken or turkey sausage for a healthier sauce, but you can certainly go with a traditional pork sausage if you prefer. I like the Andouille for its garlicky flavor, but a spicy Italian sausage would certainly work well here too.
- You can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes based on the level of spiciness you like.