Food & Drink

Olive tapenade pasta matches wines with good acidity, spice notes

The earthy, briny flavors of olive tapenade make us want to eat it straight, with a spoon. But when you’re done doing that, or you know, from a cracker, toss it with linguine in this easy dinner recipe. We give directions for making green olive tapenade from scratch, but you can sub with a jarred brand for speed. Then, pop a bottle of wine – one of our choices here – and dinner is ready.



Pulse 3 / 4 cup pitted green olives, 1 clove garlic, 1 anchovy fillet, 1 tablespoon capers and 1 teaspoon lemon zest in a food processor to achieve a coarse paste. Add a little olive oil, if needed. Heat a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 pound linguine; cook until al dente, 9-10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook 3 Italian sausage links in a skillet over medium heat until browned on all sides and cooked through. Slice into 1 / 2-inch coins. Drain the pasta; toss with tapenade, sausage and 1 cup grated Parmesan. Serve, topped with arugula. Makes: 4 servings

Recipe by Joe Gray


Pairings by sommelier Liz Martinez of The Purple Pig, as told to Michael Austin:

2015 Leth Steinagrund Gruner Veltliner, Wagram, Austria: This wine’s streamlined acid will line up with the briny elements of the dish, bringing out all of the bright green flavors, and lifting the peppery notes of the arugula. The wine’s plump stone fruit will stand up to the rich flavors of the sausage, and make the fennel more pronounced. Also, hints of white peppercorn in the wine will play up the spices in the dish.

Camille Braun Brut Rose Cremant d'Alsace, Alsace, France: A nonvintage sparkler, this wine is made of 100 percent pinot noir. Its precise acid will push through all of the rich flavors in the dish, making the spices in the sausage pop. The wine has a fresh rosiness and plush strawberries, and its hint of dried herbs and tangerine will work well with the bitter and peppery flavors in the dish.

2013 Querceto di Castellina L'aura Chianti Classico, Italy: Spicy pomegranate and cranberry are laced with a backbone of dark unripe blackberries in this wine, which will make it perfect for the spice palate of the sausage. The sangiovese’s pronounced acidity is integral to the pairing. The wine also has a bit of black olive to complement the capers and tapenade. Plus, a dried herb element in the wine will allow the peppery arugula to shine.