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Default Vodka sauce question

Greetings all,
I have a question regarding something I see alot where I live, Long
Island, NY.
Most Italian restaurants have a pasta dish served with "Vodka Sauce",
such as penne a la Vodka, etc.
I have also noticed many bottled and jarred versions of "Vodka Sauce"
in the supermakets.
I have never tasted it, but I was wondering why Vodka is used in the
sauce?
Vodka doesn't (or shouldn't) have any real taste of it's own, and the
alcohol would have presumably been cooked off.
What then, does adding Vodka contribute to the sauce?

Darren

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Default Vodka sauce question

Darren > wrote:

> Most Italian restaurants have a pasta dish served with "Vodka Sauce",
> such as penne a la Vodka, etc.
> I have also noticed many bottled and jarred versions of "Vodka Sauce"
> in the supermakets.
> I have never tasted it, but I was wondering why Vodka is used in the
> sauce?
> Vodka doesn't (or shouldn't) have any real taste of it's own, and the
> alcohol would have presumably been cooked off.
> What then, does adding Vodka contribute to the sauce?


Yours is not exactly a frequently asked question, but it's been asked
more than a couple of times over the years. As posted befo

Here's what Arthur Schwartz writes at
<http://www.thefoodmaven.com/radiorecipes/penne.html>.

<quote>
This is not a traditional Italian recipe. I know because I was there --
more or less -- at its invention. It was the early 1970s and vodka was
a relatively new spirit to Italians. To promote the consumption of
vodka in Italy, vodka distillers provided restaurants with gizmos that
kept both the vodka and vodka glasses chilled and they held recipe
contests among Italian chefs. This dish was the rage in
fashion-conscious Italian circles in the mid '70s. I never see it
anymore in Italy. But Americans are entranced by the idea, even though
it is nothing more than a tomato cream sauce with hot pepper and a good
dose of vodka, which, to be frank, is hardly detectable in the finished
dish.

To be totally historically correct, I should add that the hot pepper is
a late addition. The original recipe was made with pepper-flavored
vodka.
</quote>

Victor
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Default Vodka sauce question

On May 18, 2:12*pm, Darren > wrote:
> Greetings all,
> I have a question regarding something I see alot where I live, Long
> Island, NY.
> Most Italian restaurants have a pasta dish served with "Vodka Sauce",
> such as penne a la Vodka, etc.
> I have also noticed many bottled and jarred versions of "Vodka Sauce"
> in the supermakets.
> I have never tasted it, but I was wondering why Vodka is used in the
> sauce?
> Vodka doesn't (or shouldn't) have any real taste of it's own, and the
> alcohol would have *presumably been cooked off.
> What then, does adding Vodka contribute to the sauce?
>

The theory I've read is that while most flavor agents are water
soluble there are others that are alcohol soluble and they are brought
out by the vodka. A food writer in the Washington Post added this:

"When an alcohol-containing tomato sauce is simmered, the alcohol
can react with the tomato's acids to produce compounds called esters,
which add fruity flavor notes. Some of the alcohol may also be
oxidized to form traces of aldehydes, which have potent flavors as
well. Thus, adding the vodka before the sauce is simmered can well
develop flavors beyond the (negligible) flavor of the vodka itself. In
many recipes, however, the vodka is added near the end of cooking, in
which case I still maintain that its contribution to flavor would be
nil. Long heating is what makes these chemical reactions happen."

It's easy to show that something happens, whatever the theory. Divide
a pot of simmering tomato sauce in two, add flavorless vodka to one
half, simmer some more, taste test. I did this some twenty years ago
and thought I could tell the difference. -aem

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Default Vodka sauce question

In article
>,
Darren > wrote:

> Greetings all,
> I have a question regarding something I see alot where I live, Long
> Island, NY.
> Most Italian restaurants have a pasta dish served with "Vodka Sauce",
> such as penne a la Vodka, etc.
> I have also noticed many bottled and jarred versions of "Vodka Sauce"
> in the supermakets.
> I have never tasted it, but I was wondering why Vodka is used in the
> sauce?
> Vodka doesn't (or shouldn't) have any real taste of it's own, and the
> alcohol would have presumably been cooked off.
> What then, does adding Vodka contribute to the sauce?
>
> Darren


Vodka sauce is popular here in the Philadelphia area too. Why not try
some and see for yourself? The next time you visit your favorite Italian
restaurant, ask for a sample of pasta with regular tomato sauce and a
sample of pasta with vodka sauce. Tell the waiter you want to see if you
can taste a difference, then you will know. If the restaurant isn't
willing to offer samples, just order a small side dish of each. I
honestly just order marinara sauce when I order pasta out or I use
marinara sauce when I make pasta at home, so I don't remember what vodka
sauce tastes like.
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Default Vodka sauce question

Darren wrote:

> What then, does adding Vodka contribute to the sauce?


A catchy name, and that's about it.

-sw


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Default Vodka sauce question

Darren wrote:
> Greetings all,
> I have a question regarding something I see alot where I live, Long
> Island, NY.
> Most Italian restaurants have a pasta dish served with "Vodka Sauce",
> such as penne a la Vodka, etc.
> I have also noticed many bottled and jarred versions of "Vodka Sauce"
> in the supermakets.
> I have never tasted it, but I was wondering why Vodka is used in the
> sauce?
> Vodka doesn't (or shouldn't) have any real taste of it's own, and the
> alcohol would have presumably been cooked off.
> What then, does adding Vodka contribute to the sauce?
>
> Darren
>

Vodka wouldn't be used to add taste but for the solvent properties of
the alcohol.
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Default Vodka sauce question

On Mon, 18 May 2009 15:21:21 -0700 (PDT), wrote:

> On May 18, 2:12Â*pm, Darren > wrote:
>> Greetings all,
>> I have a question regarding something I see alot where I live, Long
>> Island, NY.
>> Most Italian restaurants have a pasta dish served with "Vodka Sauce",
>> such as penne a la Vodka, etc.
>> I have also noticed many bottled and jarred versions of "Vodka Sauce"
>> in the supermakets.
>> I have never tasted it, but I was wondering why Vodka is used in the
>> sauce?
>> Vodka doesn't (or shouldn't) have any real taste of it's own, and the
>> alcohol would have Â*presumably been cooked off.
>> What then, does adding Vodka contribute to the sauce?
>>

> The theory I've read is that while most flavor agents are water
> soluble there are others that are alcohol soluble and they are brought
> out by the vodka. A food writer in the Washington Post added this:
>
> "When an alcohol-containing tomato sauce is simmered, the alcohol
> can react with the tomato's acids to produce compounds called esters,
> which add fruity flavor notes. Some of the alcohol may also be
> oxidized to form traces of aldehydes, which have potent flavors as
> well. Thus, adding the vodka before the sauce is simmered can well
> develop flavors beyond the (negligible) flavor of the vodka itself. In
> many recipes, however, the vodka is added near the end of cooking, in
> which case I still maintain that its contribution to flavor would be
> nil. Long heating is what makes these chemical reactions happen."
>
> It's easy to show that something happens, whatever the theory. Divide
> a pot of simmering tomato sauce in two, add flavorless vodka to one
> half, simmer some more, taste test. I did this some twenty years ago
> and thought I could tell the difference. -aem


i was wondering why i only seem to have seen it used in italian cooking and
this turned up when googling [cooking with vodka]:

There are numerous ways vodka affects the cooking process.

In some recipes, vodka is used to achieve a chemical reaction in a dish.
Vodka added to marinades, for example, can help break down tough fibers and
tenderize meats. Vodka added to cheese and cream sauces lowers the boiling
point to help prevent curdling. It is also very effectively used to deglaze
pans during the cooking process in order to dissolve and impart
alcohol-soluble flavor compounds to foods or sauces. And sometimes vodka
may be added to provide a last minute burst of flavor, to complete the
cooking process, or to enhance presentation €“ as in a flambĂ©.

for what it's worth, as i don't use vodka in cooking other than as a
preparation for the cook.

but the business about drawing out non-water-soluble flavors does make me
wonder why you don't see it much in other cuisines. (of course, other
spirits are used, but they also tend to have flavor of their own.)

your pal,
blake
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Default Vodka sauce question


"Darren" > wrote in message
...
> Greetings all,
> I have a question regarding something I see alot where I live, Long
> Island, NY.
> Most Italian restaurants have a pasta dish served with "Vodka Sauce",
> such as penne a la Vodka, etc.
> I have also noticed many bottled and jarred versions of "Vodka Sauce"
> in the supermakets.
> I have never tasted it, but I was wondering why Vodka is used in the
> sauce?
> Vodka doesn't (or shouldn't) have any real taste of it's own, and the
> alcohol would have presumably been cooked off.
> What then, does adding Vodka contribute to the sauce?
>
> Darren
>


I think the vodka takes the bitter taste out of tomatoes and turns it sweet.
Has something to do with the acid in the tomato.


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