The Secret Ingredient to Amazing Pasta Dishes and 4,000 Other Things My Mom Has Taught Me

If I tried to recount all the lesson my Mom has taught me in the last 30 years I’d have to write a book. Or a volume of books. Maybe I’d roll it into a mini series. She’s that full of wisdom and the greatest asset to my motherhood journey.

For starters, she taught me how to parallel park. Not essential to being a mom, but it sure does make things easier! I’m not as good as she is … yet … but I can do it on both sides of the street with a little concentration. I’ve also learned how to negotiate health insurance. And with 2 boys and another on the way, you know we’ll be taking full advantage of our benefits over the years! She has taught me that surprises aren’t allowed and documentation with dates/names/details is worth it! My Mom is also the return queen and perfectly balances doing returns for me (what a blessing!) and urging me to grow my own return confidence. Kiwis that never got ripe? Return it! Vacuum that died far too soon? It has to go back! Girl believes companies should back their products no matter what and you know what, she’s right! 

She has taught me the peace of a hot bath and the joy of traveling to fancy destinations and quiet towns no one else would find worth visiting. And taking your kids along even if they won’t remember it. Because they learn through doing and experiencing. My mom has passed down generations of wisdom when it comes to caring for sick children and perhaps most important she has taught me how to make each one of my children feel like they’re being treated fairly within our family. Bottom line, fair doesn’t mean equal. 

I could go on and on. Remember? At least a whole book full of tips with accompanying stories to back up her expertise, but you’ll just have to trust me. Having a mentor, your own mother or another, is key to surviving and thriving throughout motherhood. It’s a journey we can’t take alone and it’s one that never ends. You just grow through it. And learn. And stumble. I’m only 7 years into my journey as a mom and the only thing I have up on my Mom’s wisdom and experiences is that soon I’ve take a turn on to “Life With 4 Kids” Street. Still, I think she’ll muster up some essentials to share with me. Or sweep in to become my Fairy Godmother! 

Today I’m spilling one of her greatest secrets. It’s simple. But delicious. And sometimes those are the perfect tips. The ones we can all apply in our own lives. And in this case, kitchens!

So, here it goes! The secret to amazing pasta dishes is … wine! But not just on the side, IN the sauce!


Wente Morning Fog

Oh yes, wine is the perfect ingredient IN your pasta dish as well as an accompanying beverage. Today I’m sharing one of my signature pasta recipes — White Wine Cream Pasta with Spring Veggies, Pancetta, and Pine Nuts — inspired by my mom’s appreciation of chardonnays like Wente Vineyards Morning Fog

“A beautifully balanced wine” with a “creamy note”, Morning Fog is the ideal wine for this pasta dish and much appreciated mother daughter conversations.


White Wine Cream Pasta with Spring Veggies, Pancetta, and Pine Nuts
Serves 4
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
1094 calories
67 g
172 g
69 g
42 g
29 g
351 g
1687 g
5 g
0 g
33 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1094
Calories from Fat 607
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 69g
Saturated Fat 29g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10g
Monounsaturated Fat 23g
Cholesterol 172mg
Sodium 1687mg
Total Carbohydrates 67g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 5g
Protein 42g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 10 ounces pasta
  2. 8 ounces pancetta
  3. 2 leeks
  4. 1 yellow squash
  5. 4 white mushrooms
  6. 1/2 cup pine nuts
  7. 2 tablespoons butter
  8. 1 cup Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay
  9. 1 cup heavy cream
  10. Salt and pepper
  11. 1/2 cup Parmesan
  1. In a large cast iron pan, cook pancetta until crispy. Scoop cooked pancetta onto a paper towel lined paper plate, leaving behind rendered fat.
  2. Boil water in a separate pot and prepare pasta according to package directions.
  3. In the pancetta fat, cook diced leek and squash for 8 minutes. Frequently stir. Add butter. Once melted add 1 cup of white wine and reduce for 2-3 minutes over low heat. Sprinkle in diced mushrooms and pine nuts. Heat for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Your veggies and sauce are complete! Add pasta and gently toss. Plate and top with pancetta and Parmesan.
That Mama Gretchen

I can’t tell you enough how much my Mom and I enjoyed sitting down for a delicious, wine-infused meal. Our chatter was broken and we juggled a kid dinner alongside this one thanks to my crew of littles, but we paused and celebrated our journeys as mothers, individually and together, thanks to Wente.

If a celebration of sorts is on your radar, why not invite Wente Vineyards to join? They have a large assortment of wines and I’m sure one will pair perfectly with your party … or pasta!

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