Vodka Sauce ‒ Votkakastike

Happy this year! Quite many people in Finland have a habit of going totally teetotal for January. This questionnaire even suggests that during 2008 as many as a quarter of the whole population stuck to tipaton tammikuu, "dropless January". I've never heard of anything like that happening in any other country. The rest of us on the other hand are persistent alcohol people. That means alcoholics as much as outdoors people means homeless.

Those who aren't alcohol people often think that such delicate drink as vodka doesn't have any other taste besides alcohol. Sure, most vodkas are made by distilling it almost to pure alcohol and then diluted down to about 38 percent (the ideal volume according to Dmitri Mendeleev who worked several happy years for the Russian Tsar to find this out). But that 2 percent of impurity or possibly the water lead into significant results in character. If you're not used to spirits, try comparing them mixed with water. The differences should become quite oblivious.

Why am I jabbering about this? Because the key to success in the following recipe is to select a quality vodka with a smooth taste. Most of these are made in the traditional Vodka Belt of Northern and Eastern Europe. I prefer Russkiy Standart, Finlandia or Smirnoff, you may like something else. The point is it should be something you could enjoy on its own. And of course, your homemade moonshine can only be called vodka if it's made exclusively out of grain or potato, although EU has some twisted ideas about this definition.

As you may have noticed, I like to use alcohol beverages in cooking. I don't do it only to bring a whip of their own aged flavours into the food but also to release some of the alcohol soluble components (which tomato has quite a lot). Alcohol acts as a flavour enhancer. Sorry to crush your hopes but most of the alcohol content burns off when heated so it won't get you drunk, unless you pour the lion's share of it directly into the chef. I got the idea for this sauce from Veganomicon (Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero, Perseus Books Group 2007) and decided to add raspberries that pair nicely with tomato. Besides pasta, it fits for example with seitan or simple fried veggies. This time I went for the easy way and added some beans to call it a full supper.

- 1 dl vodka
- 400 g canned, crushed tomatoes (If you absolutely insist to start with fresh ones you'll first have to roast them or simmer them for about an hour.)
- 100 g frozen rasberries
- 1 dl soaked almonds
- 2 dl cooked fava beans
- 1 tablespoon rape oil
- 1 dose of stock
- 3 cloves of garlic
- basil
- dragon's wort
- marjoram

Sauté the beans in the oil to get some colour on them. Add the raspberries, the tomatoes and the spices. Simmer until the sauce has a nice, thick structure. Add the vodka. Cook a few minutes more until the stinginess of ethanol has given way to caramel-like sweetness, with just a hint of that wonderful burning bite left. Make a smooth paste out of the almonds and add to the sauce. Sprinkle some nutritional yeast flakes on your pasta portion.

Nutritional values / 834 g:
energy 1076 kcal
fat 53 g
protein 32 g
carbohydrates 60 g
fiber 22 g


  1. Siulla kyllä löytyy täältä toinen toistaan mielenkiintosempia reseptejä. :D En oo koskaan osannutkaan kuvitella vodkaa kastikkeeseen. Vadelma on myös tomaatin kanssa aika uusi tuttavuus.

  2. Leikin jo kakarana pikkukemistiä. :D Vodka tomaattikastikkeessa taisi olla peräti jokin muotivillitys 70-luvun Italiassa, ja Frank Sinatran bravuuri. Ihan syystä! Tuo vadelman ja tomskun yhdistäminen taas tais tulla alun perin mieleeni foodpairing.be-sivustolta, joka yllyttää kyllä mainiosti kokeilemaan uusia makuyhdistelmiä.


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