Riesling & Penne all’arrabbiata: Food & Wine Pairing

Riesling & arrabbiata food & wine pairing

I misspelled arrabbiata (using only one b) and it turns out that even FoodNetwork and a ton of other English speakers did too! Can I just say how much it irks me that one of the top recipes is this “arrabiata” with chicken in it! I’m sorry, but Americans need to know that chicken with pasta is NOT Italian. If you want to make this dish and love it, that’s great. Just don’t call it arrabbiata or Italian! Can you tell I get a little spicy when I see something labeled as Italian when it’s not? I’m not arrabbiata (mad), just passionate about defending Italian food. 😉

With that said, I certainly hope it’s acceptable that I’ve taken the liberty to pair a German wine with penne all’arrabbiata, but hear me out.

So today, I present to you this life-changing abbinamento vino e cibo (food & wine pairing). I stumbled upon this wine pairing by chance. Do you have a Grocery Outlet in your town? If you do, it’s a great place to find wine and random European things. I picked up a bottle of Riesling, my favorite white, and did a little search about what to pair with it, since food & wine pairings are my latest obsession.

It turns out that Riesling pairs well with spicy food. I raided the pantry and found a can of Mutti pelati that I had picked up from World Market (another great place to find European products in the US). Fun fact: pelato means peeled, as well as bald. I’ve never forgotten this word because I imagine pelati little bald tomatoes. 😀

I couldn’t believe the incredible sensation this pairing created. My taste buds literally danced. The Riesling with the spicy sauce seemed to set off fireworks in my mouth. I could actually feel my mouth sparkle. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever eaten, especially because I wasn’t expecting this pairing to be so powerful together.

This is my ancestry in a food & wine pairing: German, Italian, & a little bit of serendipitous luck o’ the Irish sprinkled in.

Meet your new power couple: Riesling & penne all’arrabbiata. 

Riesling & penne all'arrabbiata food & wine pairing

Penne all'arrabbiata

Make your tastebuds dance and pair penne all'arrabbiata with a glass of Riesling. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Primo
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: italianatheart.com


  • 380 grams penne
  • 400 grams peeled tomatoes (half a can)
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or as needed
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp finely grated Pecorino Romano if desired



  • Smash the garlic clove (keeping it whole). Remove the seeds from the peeled tomatoes (if whole), and give them a rough chop. 
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it starts boiling, add a heaping tablespoon of sea salt. 

Make the sauce

  • Heat the garlic clove and red pepper flakes in a frying pan over low heat for a minute. 
  • Add the peeled tomatoes and a little of their juice to the pan and salt to taste. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. 

Put it all together

  • Remove the garlic clove, and then add the pasta to the sauce. It never hurts to add a spoonful of pasta water too! Let the pasta and sauce combine for a few minutes and too it in the pan. Serve and add a little finely grated Pecorino Romano to the top if you wish. Buon appetito!
Tried this recipe?Mention @italianatheart_ or tag #italianatheartrecipes!
Riesling & penne all'arrabbiata food & wine pairing
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Ciao, I'm Kelly!

Welcome to my adventures in learning Italian, often while cooking authentic Italian recipes and wine tasting! I love discovering the traditional regional cuisine of Italy and trying to recreate those dishes when I'm back home in the US. I'm also on my way to becoming an Italian citizen through jure sanguinis (by ancestry).

WSET Level 2 Certified Wine Blogger


Join me for a virtual "aperitivo chat" to get exclusive updates on my Italian progress, dual citizenship journey, plus food & wine adventures in the Bel Paese and beyond!

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Questa Dolce Vita (@questadolcevita)

OMG I made the mistake of opening this up right now and I have no lunch and I’m starving.

LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia

HAHAHA Bald tomatoes! That’s so amazing, it had me laughing at loud! Going to have to try this pairing the next time I make Penne all’Arrabbiata!

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