Vodka is frequently used in cooking. One look at the menu of an Italian restaurant or the pasta aisle should tell you that. Penne alla vodka is a classic pasta dish with a creamy tomato sauce. The vodka helps to bring out new flavors in the tomatoes, as well as bind the acidic tomato juices with cream, olive oil and and water. Plus, vodka sauce is just delicious — it’s one of my favorite ways to eat pasta.
But there’s a lot more to cooking with vodka than just pasta sauce. Because of its almost flavorless taste, it adds a bonus booze factor in many recipes, especially sweet ones. You can also flavor vodka yourself for both cooking and cocktails.
If you missed it, you can see here what I wrote about this month’s Kindred Spirit and what you need to know about mixing drinks with vodka. Keep reading to learn how to cook with vodka and see some awesome food recipes that go beyond pasta.
Click through to keep reading!
HOW IT WORKS IN COOKING
Vodka will add a boozy kick to most recipes, but if the vodka is cooked the alcohol will burn off. Vodka acts as an emulsifier to bind oils and water. Because vodka is relatively flavorless, it won’t overpower your dish unless you add too much — then it will just taste like alcohol.
WHAT TO MAKE WITH IT
Savory dishes: Add vodka to sauces for pasta and meats, or use it in a glaze for fish.
Sweet dishes: When used in baking — such as a pastry or pie crust — a tad bit of vodka keeps the gluten from breaking down, encouraging a more flaky texture. You can also add vodka to sweet treats for a boozy kick.
Infusions: Change up your cocktails or any other recipe by infusing vodka with other flavors. Soak herbs, fruits, vegetables, spices and even candies in vodka for a few days and it will take on new flavors. You can also use it to make your own vanilla extract.
Freezing it: Alcohol has a lower freezing point than water, which means it might not freeze properly. If you’re making a frozen dessert, too much vodka might kill the ice.
Cooking with it: When you cook with any alcohol, the heat makes the majority of alcohol evaporate. Depending on the cooking method and temperature, the alcohol won’t burn off entirely, but your dish won’t be as potent as drinking straight alcohol. In general, the longer you cook anything with alcohol, the more will evaporate.
I rounded up eight food recipes with vodka for you to try. There are sweet ones and savory ones alike. If you’re after a cocktail to pair with it, look here. You could also try any of the vodka cocktails I’ve written for the blog, including:
1. Vodka Pie Crust by Gimme Some Oven // 2. Vodka and Clementine Glazed Salmon by the View from Great Island // 3. Lemon-Infused Vodka by Boulder Locavore // 4. Bloody Mary Soup by Jelly Toast // 5. Creamy Roasted Tomato Diary-Free Vodka Sauce with Penne Pasta by Go Dairy Free // 6. Vodka Cupcakes by The Baking Robot // 7. Drunken Brownies by Yummily Yours // 8. White Russian Pudding Pops by Endless Simmer
Well, that’s almost a wrap on vodka recipes this month! You can look forward to one more cocktail on Friday. I hope you enjoyed vodka month on the blog and that you got some good ideas for how to cook with it. June will be all about rum! // susannah