pantry food wine pairng

Pairing Wine with Pantry Staples

Are you trying to minimize trips to the grocery store during this Coronavirus pandemic? Although I did a fair job of stocking up on our favorite foods, we’re transitioning to cooking the last items in the pantry. It’s still possible to make the best of it, though, and bust out a bottle of wine with whatever may end up on our plates on any given night. Here goes nothing! Let’s talk about pairing wine with pantry staples.

Get Corny with Risotto

When recently asked what I cook while stuck at home, I answered, “Risotto.” It’s a dish that demands attention. Add water, stir, repeat. This meditative process helps take the mind off other worries. It also has a way of making me feel that I’m serving something fancy even though it is, at its heart, soul soothing comfort food. Plus, it’s so versatile. For example, add some frozen corn to a basic risotto and – voila – corn risotto.

Wine Pairings for Corn Risotto

Cantina de Vermentino Nord-Est Vermentino
$15.99 purchased at Esquin
I went absolutely bonkers for this pairing! The weight of the wine works perfectly with the creamy texture of the risotto.
Geeky notes: this Italian white wine from Sardegna has an unctuous, waxy texture and an exotic combination of fruity melon notes and citrus giving way to surprisingly savory characteristics such as pepper and celery.

Alternative wines

Pinot Gris

Soup Things Up

Is there a more classic soup and sandwich combination than tomato soup and grilled cheese? I think not.

Wine Pairings for Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

In our house, we turn to Austria’s most widely planted grape variety. For a new world take on this old world classic, check out bottlings from Washington State based WT Vintners or Syncline.

Hiller Simone I Wine & Queen Gruner Veltliner
$16 purchased from Last Bottle (sign up for the newsletter and get a $10 credit)

Alternative Wines

Sauvignon Blanc

Notorious BLT

What’s more comforting than bacon? I’ll take mine on the crispy side, please. Although bacon, lettuce, and tomato is the classic, the hubby and I put our own spin on the sandwich of all sandwiches. Rather than using basic white bread, slices of baguette get slathered with some of the rendered bacon fat. The bread then gets put under the broiler until crispy. A “toppings” bar if you will allows us each to assemble our own sandwiches. The hubby swaps out tomato for apple. I add a squirt of country style Dijon mustard.

Wine Pairings for BLT

Pet Project Wines Piquette
$8 / 325 ml bottle purchased from the winery
This is a low alcohol, slightly fizzy, wine that doesn’t compete with the sandwich.
Geeky notes: crafted with 100% USDA certified organic Pinot Noir grapes and indigenous yeast, unfiltered, and fermented in the bottle this is a light and refreshing quaffer.

Alternative Wines


Have a Mac Attack

I usually make a light version of macaroni and cheese, but don’t currently have those ingredients on hand. As we’ve been eating through our pantry, we’re getting down to the boxed macaroni and cheese. No shame in that. We’ll still light the candles on the dinner table and open a bottle of wine.

Wine Pairings for Macaroni and Cheese:

Disruption Chardonnay
$17/bottle available from Latta Wines
This wine from talented Andrew Latta encompasses everything – fantastic winemaking, 82% Chardonnay sourced from cooler climate Evergreen Vineyard plus 18% Lawerence Vineyard Roussanne to round things out.

Bonus: Proceeds from this wine benefit Mary’s Place at the local level here in Seattle and the International Rescue Committee on a broader scale.

Alternative Pairings

Gamay Noir
Pinot Gris
Sparkling Wine

Get Ready for Spaghetti

No pantry should be without dried pasta and jarred sauce. In this case, we’re talking about tomato based sauce, such as marinara. It’s a weeknight dinner miracle.

I previously offered some specific wine suggestions for pasta marinara featuring Washington Wine selections. Also provided are the pairing principles behind selecting a wine for marinara sauce.

Wine Pairings for Spaghetti

G. D. Vajra Langhe Rosso
$16.99 purchased at Esquin
The wine we often turn to in our household is a Langhe Rosso from G.D. Vajra. Langhe is the region, rosso means red, and G.D. Vajra is the producer. When I purchased this wine from client Esquin I was told, “This is the best value in pizza wine that we carry.” So, we not only pair it with pasta, but also pizza.

Alternative Wines


Geeky notes: it’s not always clear what the primary grape is when the wine comes from Italy. A typically affordable option is Chianti, which is required to be at least 80% Sangiovese. A more upscale option would be Brunello.

If you’re craving more food and wine, explore earlier posts featuring some fun pairings with chips and dips, flavorful sparkling wine and popcorn pairings, and even Tater Tot pairings. Stay safe and be well!


Esquin Wine and Spirits/MadWine
Latta Wines
Pet Project