Cooking with wine is an easy skill to learn and these recipes will help you discover how it adds depth of flavor and complexity to a wide variety of dishes.
For centuries, cooking with wine has been a technique used to season food. In the Roman cookbook, Apicius (circa 100 AD), the majority of the included recipes utilized wine as a signature ingredient.
Today we use wine to enhance the flavor of marinades, stews, stir-fries, dressings, and sauces.
When deciding which wine to choose, there are a few general guidelines that we recommend.
First, choose a wine you like. Cheap bitter wine will not contribute the right attributes to your dish. A medium-priced bottle of white or red wine, or a left-over bottle of your favorite drinking wine, will add lots of flavor and gusto to your meal.
Next, choose flavors that complement your ingredients. Cooking brings out the flavor of wine, so some wines like oaky Chardonnays and high-tannin reds should be avoided. Chardonnays can turn bitter when reduced and full-bodied reds like Cabernet can leave a chalky taste once reduced.
Fruitier and brighter whites such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are excellent choices when recipes call for a dry white wine. Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Côtes du Rhône are medium-bodied reds that add depth and complexity to a dish.
Lastly, when adding wine to a recipe, it is better to add sooner rather than later. It takes about 10 minutes for the flavor of the wine to mellow and infuse with the other ingredients.
Here we've gathered eight delicious recipes that are great examples of how wine can enhance the flavor of a dish. Try one or two and you'll be an expert at cooking with wine in no time.
Classic Chicken Piccata
Chicken Piccata is a classic dish made with thin slices of boneless chicken bathed in a sauce made with white wine, garlic, lemon, capers, and parsley.
Red Wine Braised Chicken Thighs
This recipe for boneless chicken thighs braised in red wine is a simplified take on a classic French Coq Au Vin that delivers deliciously rich flavor with far less time and effort.
Linguine with Crab
This simple but elegant pasta dish combines linguine with a light sauce made with lump crabmeat, fresh tomatoes, butter, and white wine.
Hearty Minestrone Soup
A rich, hearty minestrone soup, loaded with vegetables and flavored with pancetta, garlic, Italian sausage, and dry red wine makes a satisfying one-dish meal with plenty of leftovers for another day.
Asparagus and Lemon Risotto
A one-dish, meatless meal of rich, creamy risotto flavored with a puree of asparagus, fresh lemon, olive oil and a bit of garlic.
Red Wine and Orange Braised Brisket
Beef brisket, slow-braised with red wine, fragrant orange zest, fresh rosemary, and thyme makes a delicious, pungently flavored main course that's easy to make for a company meal.
Lobster Penne with Truffle Oil
This easy pasta dish combines bits of tender lobster, sautéed shallots, white wine and a drizzle of white truffle oil to make a simple but elegant dinner for two.
Lamb Ragu Over Campanelle
This easy ground lamb ragu, flavored with red wine, tomatoes, and leek makes a nice change from ordinary pasta with meatballs.