Vodka in Tomato Sauce????

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-DEADLY SUSHI-

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I just found this. I really would like to hear what you guys think!

:arrow: When making a tomato-based pasta sauce, use vodka to take the sauce to a new level. Simply saute a chopped onion and a couple of cloves of minced garlic in olive oil, then add some good canned tomatoes that you break up by hand as you squeeze them into the pot . Season with salt and pepper.
Then add the piece de resistance -- a splash of vodka. Mysteriously, the addition of vodka to tomato sauce gives the tomatoes a flavor jolt, even after the alcohol is cooked off. Add cream, if you want, for an amazing tomato cream sauce.
 

GB

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Vodka with tomatoes is a very good combination. There are flavor compounds in the tomatoes that are alcohol soluble meaning you will only taste these certain flavors in the presence of booze. Try it DS, I promise you will love it.

I will move this to the sauce section for you ;)
 

DampCharcoal

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So there really is something to Newman's Own Vodka Sauce? I like his sauces but that particular concoction makes me ill just thinking about it. I'd rather try your recipe GB and Sush, I'll take your word over Newman's.
 

kitchenelf

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Vodka Sauce

Vodka Sauce has been around for a VERY long time. It does add a whole different layer of flavor - and is quite good. BTW - this is the right forum - or possibly Ethnic - but here is ok too.

1 cup vodka
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound prosciutto, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 (28 ounce) can roma tomatoes, with juice
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream

Method:

In a small bowl, combine vodka and red pepper flakes. Set aside for 1 hour to let flakes infuse with the vodka.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute prosciutto, garlic, parsley, basil, (pepper but you may not need salt for the prosciutto is pretty salty) until prosciutto is evenly brown. Pour in vodka and chili flakes, simmer 10 minutes. Crush tomatoes, stir in 2 cans of tomato sauce, and 1 (8 ounce) can water. Simmer 15 minutes. Stir in 1 cup heavy cream, and cook 2 minutes.
 

jennyema

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Yep, vodka sauce has been around since the beginning of time.

Like GB said, alcohol is used in cooking for two reasons: (1) to flavor the food (eg, chicken marsala) AND/OR (2) because it releases flavor components in food that are not water or oil soluable.

Tomatoes, in particular, are enhanced by combining with alcohol. Thats why you see so many recipes where tomatoes are the star also use alcohol (mostly wine).

Vodka, being fairly tasteless, is used in this sauce only to bring out the additional flavor in the tomatoes.

Because you are using the alcohol for the purpose of bringing out the taste in tomatoes, it's better to add vodka to the tomatoes rather than the other way around. It doesnt make a lot of sense to evaporate part of the alcohol before adding the tomatoes. Do that while the vodka is doing it's magic on the tomatoes.

And remember that alcohol never fully evaporates. Between 10 and 80% usually remain, depending on cooking time and method.
 

PA Baker

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Here's another recipe to try, very similar to the others, just my TNT version.

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 c vodka
1 c chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 oz)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 oz pasta, such as penne rigate
½ c heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn.

Crusty bread, for passing

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic and shallots. Gently sauté shallots for 3-5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.
 

jpinmaryland

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Okay I tried making my shrimp fra diavolo with vodka but I didnt taste anything different. Can someone explain what jenny is saying here:


jennyema said:
Because you are using the alcohol for the purpose of bringing out the taste in tomatoes, it's better to add vodka to the tomatoes rather than the other way around. It doesnt make a lot of sense to evaporate part of the alcohol before adding the tomatoes. Do that while the vodka is doing it's magic on the tomatoes.

Now tell me what this means. add vodka to tomatoes not the other way around? what does that mean?

Do you mean to add it at the end of cooking because this about all I can figure when you say not to evaporate the alcohol before adding to tomatoes? Or do you mean to add it while the tomatoes are cooking?

I dunnno, please explain this.
 

jpinmaryland

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Note: when I cooked the fra diavolo I let the pot simmer for about 15 minutes after cooking shrimp, onions, etc. I added the vodka near the beginning of the simmer process.
 

jennyema

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jpinmaryland said:
Okay I tried making my shrimp fra diavolo with vodka but I didnt taste anything different. Can someone explain what jenny is saying here:


jennyema said:
Because you are using the alcohol for the purpose of bringing out the taste in tomatoes, it's better to add vodka to the tomatoes rather than the other way around. It doesnt make a lot of sense to evaporate part of the alcohol before adding the tomatoes. Do that while the vodka is doing it's magic on the tomatoes.

Now tell me what this means. add vodka to tomatoes not the other way around? what does that mean?

Do you mean to add it at the end of cooking because this about all I can figure when you say not to evaporate the alcohol before adding to tomatoes? Or do you mean to add it while the tomatoes are cooking?

I dunnno, please explain this.

Sorry to be confusing.

Since the only point of using the alcohol is to affect the tomatoes, you should put the tomatoes into the pan and then the vodka. Then simmer together. It doesn't make much sense to evaporate the alcohol before it can work it's magic by adding it to the pan first and simmering it alone.
 

jpinmaryland

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okay. Now THAT makes sense...

Can someone elaborate on what the different taste is like? Is it more tangy w/ the vodka? More aromatic? what?
 

DampCharcoal

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I would imagine that the 'maters would be more flavorful in general. Give it a shot and let us know what you think, JP! You might have a different experience that we're not aware of! :D
 

jpinmaryland

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I used the crappy canned, chopped up or diced up whatever tomatoes for the diavolo. The overall dish came out great w/ olives, capers, hot peppers etc. The tomato was so busy that I cant recall how much about the tomato sauce per se.

Also I used a little anchovies sauteed in butter/garlic in order to get the tomato sauce going. The anchovy brings out an authentic taste to me. I dunno if the anchovy would interfere with the vodka effect. I have seen recipes with both anchovy and vodka so not too worried but would like other comments.
 

kitchenelf

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jp - I know some would disagree but I think there is a time and place for canned tomatoes. And this time of year is the perfect reason. I have made fra diavolo before but I used white wine. I'll have to find my recipe and post it for you. Your dish sounds great - I bet the anchovies gave another flavor layer that was great!!!!
 

GB

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Canned tomatoes can be excellent. During the winter they will mostly be your best choice depending on where you live. My only comment about them would be this...don't buy the diced or chopped canned tomatoes. Buy them whole. That way a lot less processing has gone into them. You can then chop or dice or do whatever you want to them.

I just used canned whole tomatoes in my Bolognese Sauce recipe and it turned out to be the best batch I ever made, aside from the batch in which every vegi came from my garden.
 

Claire

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I guess I'm horrid, but I don't find vodka (and, yes, I've tried many brands) to have enough flavor to bother with it in cooked sauces (yes, maybe in a tomato salad). Guess I'm just not a super-taster, because the flavor just disappears to me.
 

GB

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The point of using vodka is that is has almost no flavor. You just use the vodka to bring out the alcohol soluble flavors in other foods (like tomatoes). These are flavors that you would not taste unless in the presence of alcohol. You could use something else like wine, but wine has so much flavor that depending on what you are making, the wine flavor could hide the alcohol soluble flavors you are trying to bring out. That is why vodka is such a good choice. Most vodkas have very little flavor themselves so you will really taste the flavors you are bringing out in the tomatoes.
 

buckytom

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one of my favorite things to do in the summer is take a bunch of cherry or grape tomatoes, skin them and soak them overnight in vodka. then serve them with worcestershire sauce.
 

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