Alexandra Guarnaschelli proves you don't need to use a lot of fat to make a healthy dish wine-friendly.


"In my experience, the best wine pairings have nothing to do with healthy food and everything to do with cured pork, cheese and duck confit. That's not the case for Food Network star Alexandra Guarnaschelli, a chef who buys wines for her New York City restaurants Butter and The Darby (a new supper club). The best pairing of her life was a superbly healthy one: grilled sardines with a 1969 rosé Champagne. "Context didn't hurt," she admits—she was on a terrace in the French Riviera. At home, she has discovered a few ways to make healthy food a great match with wine—cooking assertive vegetables like fennel in wine to soften their flavors, for instance. But she's clearly no pairing obsessive: "You don't want to have so many rules that you don't enjoy yourself."

Roasted Halibut with Wine-Braised Fennel
Credit: © Tina Rupp

Wine Pairing Favorite

"Raw fennel is one of wine's great adversaries. When I cook it down, the flavor mellows and is great with a crisp white wine, like Albariño."

Spice-Braised Chicken Legs with Red Wine and Tomato

Wine Pairing Favorite

"This chicken doesn't break the caloric bank but has so much flavor from all the spices. I like it with a medium-bodied Tempranillo."

Mustard-and-Lemon-Glazed Pork with Roasted Vegetables. Photo © Tina Rupp
Credit: © Tina Rupp

Wine Pairing Favorite

"The lemon in this pork roast makes me think white wine instead of red. A French Chardonnay or a dry Chenin Blanc would be good."

More Pairing Tips and Ideas

Spaghetti Squash Salad with Pine Nuts and Tarragon
Grilled Salmon with Preserved Lemon and Green Olives
Credit: © Quentin Bacon
Leek-and-Pecorino Pizza
Credit: © Con Poulos