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Sub for red wine in pasta sauce?

anakalia Jun 7, 2009 05:43 AM

Help! :)

I'm making a recipe for ricotta artichoke lasagna tonight for some friends who are coming over - but I just realized the recipe calls for a 3/4 cup of red wine in the tomato sauce portion. They are Muslim and I know they don't take any alcohol, even if it's baked into something.

Any ideas for something flavorful I can use as a substitute, instead of just water ? From past experience, I know this lasagna can be a bit dry so I definitely can't just cut that 3/4 cup of liquid out, I need to replace it with something...is a veggie stock an option, do you think?

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  1. g
    gordeaux RE: anakalia Jun 7, 2009 07:01 AM

    If you have any decaf coffee, try 1/4 cup of brewed coffee + 1/2 cup of water or canned tomato sauce. Coffee is a trick used to deepen the tomato flavor of tomato sauce

    1 Reply
    1. re: gordeaux
      MVNYC RE: gordeaux Feb 5, 2010 11:26 AM

      The coffee I am drinking is a somewhat acidic blend and is really bringing out the sweetness in the tomatoes.

    2. k
      KaponE RE: anakalia Jun 7, 2009 07:14 AM

      I agree with gordeaux, but I'd try instant espresso powder........and of course, you could always just use some herbed-up veggie stock.

      1. todao RE: anakalia Jun 7, 2009 08:18 AM

        I agree with those suggestions already posted however I would reduce the amount of coffee to 1/8 cup and add a teaspoons of fresh lemon juice to the mix.

        1. Sam Fujisaka RE: anakalia Jun 7, 2009 02:56 PM

          Saute some tomato paste until slightly browned. This will give you depth of flavor; but you may have to add some stock to replace the liquid.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
            Kelli2006 RE: Sam Fujisaka Jun 10, 2009 09:29 AM

            That's a great idea Sam.

          2. Boccone Dolce RE: anakalia Jun 7, 2009 03:20 PM

            Balsamic Vinegar.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Boccone Dolce
              DishDelish RE: Boccone Dolce Jun 7, 2009 03:26 PM

              I agree, Balsamic vinegar is a wonderful substitute! =)

              1. re: DishDelish
                ipsedixit RE: DishDelish Jun 7, 2009 03:32 PM

                That, or grape juice or V8.

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  Boccone Dolce RE: ipsedixit Jun 8, 2009 03:27 PM

                  i was poking around on the copy cat website and saw a recipe for Olive Garden's sauce that calls for grape jelly!

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    DishDelish RE: ipsedixit Jun 8, 2009 09:23 PM

                    hmm, I've never heard of using grape juice before ... I have thrown in V8 before though, come to think of it. I'm always changing my sauce based on what I have in the available. Wouldn't the grape juice make it kind of sweet?

                  2. re: DishDelish
                    tastesgoodwhatisit RE: DishDelish Dec 4, 2011 10:55 PM

                    But not one-to-one. I'd use a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and stock or tomato juice for the rest.

                2. mcel215 RE: anakalia Jun 7, 2009 03:42 PM

                  I would add low sodium Chicken Stock, even from a box.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mcel215
                    anakalia RE: mcel215 Jun 8, 2009 08:57 AM

                    Thanks everyone for you help: I had coffee and veg stock available, so I flipped a coin - and coffee won. Unfortunately, I had to use regular coffee, not instant powder. I used about somewhere between an 1/8- 1/4 cup and added some water, as well. It smelled a little odd as it was simmering, but it ended up tasting fine :)

                    1. re: anakalia
                      mbfant RE: anakalia Jun 10, 2009 08:51 AM

                      I am curious about the source of the original recipe and its other components.

                  2. puzzler RE: anakalia Jun 10, 2009 09:15 AM

                    There's no alcohol left after the cooking, so how is that a problem?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: puzzler
                      KTinNYC RE: puzzler Jun 10, 2009 09:21 AM

                      This is not true. There will be alcohol left after cooking and if the guest is a Muslim this certainly will be a problem.

                      1. re: KTinNYC
                        MMRuth RE: KTinNYC Jun 10, 2009 09:35 AM

                        Yes, from what I understand, there are still traces. I would also not serve a dish that included alcohol to a Muslim. My understanding also is that alcoholics vary in terms of whether or not they are comfortable with/able to consume dishes that have been made with alcohol.

                        1. re: MMRuth
                          KTinNYC RE: MMRuth Jun 10, 2009 09:45 AM

                          From wikipedia. A study by a team of researchers at the University of Idaho, Washington State University, and the US Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Data Laboratory calculated the percentage of alcohol remaining in a dish based on various cooking methods. The results are as follows:

                          alcohol added to boiling liquid & removed from heat - 85% alcohol retained
                          alcohol flamed - 75% alcohol retained
                          no heat, stored overnight - 70% alcohol retained
                          baked, 25 minutes, alcohol not stirred into mixture - 45% alcohol retained
                          baked/simmered, alcohol stirred into mixture:
                          * 15 minutes 40% alcohol retained
                          * 30 minutes 35% alcohol retained
                          * 1 hour 25% alcohol retained
                          * 1.5 hours 20% alcohol retained
                          * 2 hours 10% alcohol retained
                          * 2.5 hours 5% alcohol retained

                    2. WCchopper RE: anakalia Jun 10, 2009 09:59 AM

                      Harissa paste has a deep, pungent flavor that can really benefit tomato sauces as long as you don't mind a tiny bit of heat.

                      1. C. Hamster RE: anakalia Jun 10, 2009 11:42 AM

                        Wine is added to tomato sauces primarily because it releases flavor components in the tomatoes that otherwise wouldn't dissolve. It's those alcohol-soluable flavor components that enrich the sauce.

                        Vodka is added for the same reason, only it is used because it has such a neutral flavor.

                        If you can't use wine, use liquid and then something to up the umami, like a hit of soy sauce, white miso, parmesan cheese or anchovies

                        1. Perilagu Khan RE: anakalia Feb 5, 2010 11:30 AM

                          Surprised nobody suggested beef stock. It has the depth of red wine--much more so than chicken or veg stock.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Perilagu Khan
                            Justme1979 RE: Perilagu Khan Dec 4, 2011 12:35 PM

                            I had to substitute for red wine in my sauce today and I used about a tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar plus one cube of beef boullion. It smells fantastic. I might make my sauce like this from now on. Will post later on how it tastes.

                            1. re: Justme1979
                              Justme1979 RE: Justme1979 Dec 4, 2011 05:33 PM

                              It was excellent!!

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