Wines to pair with crab, pasta

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Bill St. John, Spe­cial to The Den­ver Post

Christ­mas Eve and New Year’s Eve din­ners tend to be deluxe, even sump­tu­ous af­fairs. This crab-and-pasta prepa­ra­tion fits the bill. It would seem fit­ting to pair such fare with wines equally rich and op­u­lent. But nu­anced, aged reds or but­tery, oaky whites also over­play and tire the palate. Some­times sim­ple and clean is bet­ter, as a yin to the (in this case) crab’s yang. The chardon­nay is high-end, but lean and barely oaked. The su­per-fresh sparkler from Italy is cel­e­bra­tory and fits the theme. And the unique white from Chile is the hum­ble “back­ground” wine to let the dish shine.

THE FOOD

Recipe from Bill St John Gar­licky crab with pasta Add 2 pounds king crab legs to a stock­pot of salted boil­ing wa­ter; cook un­til crab is cooked through, 6 min­utes. Trans­fer crab to a colan­der. Add 1 pound spaghetti to the crab wa­ter; cook un­til al dente. Mean­while, crack crab legs into smaller pieces. Melt 3 ta­ble­spoons but­ter in a skil­let. Add 4 cloves minced gar­lic; cook un­til aro­matic, 1-2 min­utes. Add crab legs and 1/4 cup chopped pars­ley; toss to coat. Trans­fer to a plate. Melt 1 ta­ble­spoon but­ter in the skil­let. Add drained pasta, toss­ing un­til well coated. Serve, topped with the crab. Makes: 4 serv­ings

THE WINE

2013 Mayu Pe­dro Ximenez Elqui Chile: Sim­ply de­liv­ered ap­ple- and pear-like fruit, soft tex­ture, suf­fi­cient acid­ity for cleans­ing. $15

2013 Etude Chardon­nay Grace BenoistCQ Vine­yard Carneros Cal­i­for­nia: From cool-cli­mate south­ern Sonoma; lin­ear and pure; no woody or sug­ary gee-gaws and bright, cit­rusy fruit to boot. $30-$35

NV Ber­luc­chi Brut Cu­vee ‘61’ Fran­ci­a­corta Lom­bardy Italy: Cham­pag­nemethod bub­bly; blend of pinot noir and chardon­nay; less nu­anced than the French but a third the price. $25-$30

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Add king crab legs to spaghetti and gar­lic for a sump­tu­ous meal.

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