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Lidia Bastianich on the Marriage of Food and Wine

Tips to find the best wines for roasting and toasting

The right wine for the right time: Wine is often used in braising meat dishes that are cooked for an extended period of time because the tannins serve as a tenderizer, breaking down certain proteins. Bastianich says it's important to pay attention to the ratio of wine to other ingredients, relative to the cooking time of what you're preparing.

See also: How well do you know wine?

"If you make something that's quick-cooking, like shrimp or scallops, that's a little bit of wine — maybe a half cup of a nice, dry, aromatic white wine," she says. The same is true of chicken. "Let's say you have four chicken breasts you're going to cook with some lemon and wine. Add about a half cup of that nice, aromatic white wine. But for a pot roast you would cook two hours, add two cups of a good red wine — and of course, if you add that, you diminish other cooking liquids accordingly."

Perfect pairings: When serving a red-sauced pasta dish such as bucatini all'amatriciana, Bastianich suggests "a great Chianti." With a long-simmered meat dish like osso buco, she would serve "an amarone, or a zinfandel." With a lighter dish such as shrimp, she would choose "a nice sauvignon blanc." 

After Lidia picked out these five recipes for AARP from her new cookbook, she also recommended a wine pairing for each dish:

You may also like: Have rum, will travel.

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