The Perfect Hostess: Wine Pairings

By Lauren Kelp 
In: Recipes

HELLO! Lauren Kelp here & I am about to put all of your hostessing fears to rest! Typically the biggest concern about having people over is what wine to serve with the food. Now, this is a big concern because it’s an important decision to make while meal planning, but, never fear, we are here to help you with three classic (and favorite) wine pairings – pasta, flatbread, and salmon! Three foolproof recipes that will leave your guests (or your family) feeling absolutely delighted, plus the perfect wines to serve along with them. Trust me, you’ll never fret about this again. Okay, on to the pairings!


Meet our first pairing, the Tomato & Garlic Linguine with a deliciously chilled Chardonnay. Now, Chardonnay is a wine you can pair with almost anything, because it isn’t an extreme wine. It isn’t heavy and it’s not very acidic, so think of a good Chardonnay as the perfect chameleon. I particularly like to pair it with pasta because it complements the flavors so well.

Chardonnay should be served slightly chilled so the flavors can open up and make the most impact. Pair it with the pasta recipe below & you’ll have your guests thinking you are European!


Tomato & Garlic Linguine with Lemon


  • 1 package of garlic linguine
  • 1 cup of whole roasted garlic cloves
  • 1 handful of fresh basil
  • 3 tomatoes (wedged and marinated)
  • EVOO
  • Juice & zest from lemon
  • Parmesan



  1. Prepare linguine al dente.
  2. Mix in whole garlic cloves, marinated tomatoes, and shredded basil.
  3. Drizzle with lemon juice and EVOO.
  4. Top with lemon zest and grated parmesan.
  5. *As an alternative to marinated tomatoes, you can substitute sun-dried tomatoes or store bought marinated tomatoes!



On to the second, and a personal favorite, the Fig, Gorgonzola, & Arugula Flatbread paired with Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s just to die for! Now, we’ve already talked about my affinity for making flatbread personal, festive, and above all else, a little fun, but here is a recipe to help guide the creative process.

This flatbread (hold the prosciutto if desired, or hey, add some more!) makes for the absolutely perfect meal when it’s paired with a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon. Why you ask? Because a great, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon can really bring out the flavors of the cheese, compliment the saltiness of the prosciutto, and play nice with the greens on top. Voila, a match made in food loving heaven!


Fig, Gorgonzola, & Arugula Flatbread with Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients for wheat dough:

  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 pkg. or 1 tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey


Ingredients for flatbread:

  • 1 wedge of good gorgonzola
  • 1 handful of walnuts
  • 6-7 figs (sliced)
  • Arugula
  • Proscuitto (optional)
  • EVOO



  1. Pour flour into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add yeast and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add water, oil and honey; mix well.
  4. Cover with a moist cloth and place in a warm spot for 10 minutes to rise.
  5. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and slowly spread and press the dough into your desired thickness and shape.
  6. Drizzle the top with EVOO.
  7. Top the flatbread with the crumbled gorgonzola, walnuts, sliced figs, and prosciutto.
  8. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
  9. Remove flatbread from oven, top with arugula, and enjoy.



Last, but absolutely not least, the delicious (and a real show stopper) salmon with mushrooms and honey balsamic reduction paired, to perfection, with a Pinot Noir. As someone who doesn’t eat red meat, this salmon recipe is my filet mignon. The sweet honey balsamic fish paired with the tender mushrooms is the ultimate dish if you are looking to impress. Add in the perfect bottle of Pinot Noir and you’ve won them over completely!

A good bottle of Pinot will match the silky texture of the fish and the berries will dance perfectly with the sweetness of the honey balsamic. The pair is nothing short of divine! Truly, this is the ultimate pairing for anyone you need to sweep off their feet – it’s that good.


Salmon with Mushrooms and Honey Balsamic Reduction


  • 12 ounces Salmon Filet, Skin on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Mixed sautéed mushrooms
  • kosher salt to taste
  • honey balsamic reduction


Instructions for salmon:

  1. In a heavy pan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Sprinkle the salmon with kosher salt on both sides. Place the salmon skin side down in the pan. Cook without moving for about 3 minutes and then flip over to the skin side up. Cook until crispy on the outside and just cooked through in the center, about 6 minutes total.

Instructions for mushrooms:

  1. Use a mixed mushroom package & sliced the larger ones
  2.  Heat olive oil to coat in a pan- add salt and cracked black pepper to taste and allow the pepper to cook for about a minute
  3. Add sliced mushrooms and toss in the olive oil
  4. Sautée until brown and crisp

Instructions for honey balsamic reduction:

  1.  Add equal parts honey and balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan and reduce on medium low heat until thick and sauce like
  2.  Bed the mushrooms- top with the salmon filet, drizzle with reduction, garnish with thyme
  3. As an alternative, add the thyme to the mushrooms while they are cooking or the reduction as it reduces


Photography by Stancy Higley

For more food and wine pairing tips, visit the Entertaining section of our website.