This may be the very best marinara sauce ever created as it adds earthy, umami filled, black truffle infused sweet vodka to the hearty Italian staple.
Our friends, Lee and Julia Fuqua recently launched their Dallas based vodka company, Duckworth Distillery, producing several different well balanced spirits, including a Duckworth Truffle Vodka using black truffles from France. The tasty vodka just won top honors, and a 95 point rating, at the Tastings International Review of Spirits Competition that took place in Chicago this week. (In addition to an excellent sauce enhancer, the vodka is also the best base for a Bloody Mary.)
The sauce isn’t complicated, but take the time to cook it slowly, allowing the flavors to meld, and then serve over creamy polenta, spaghetti or wild mushroom stuffed ravioli for an extra earthy kick.
Perfect pairing? Ideally a red from the land of truffles, we enjoyed one of may favorite Barolo wines from Ricossa Winery in Piemonte. Wine can be found at Stocks & Bondy, the vodka is available at Total Wine and More stores and select Goody-Goody locations. You will want to stock up on plenty of both!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, washed, scrapped and chopped
2 ribs celery, washed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup red wine
2 – 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
Pinch sugar, to balance the acidity
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon each chopped parsley and basil
1/2 cup Duckworth Truffle Vodka
1 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to your taste
Add oil to a large sauté pan (we used our Dutch oven with a lid) over medium low heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Stirring occasionally cook until soft, about 10-12 minutes, adding the garlic and red pepper flakes after about 8 minutes. Add the red wine and tomatoes with the sugar, salt and pepper. Cook until the red wine has almost reduced out, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the herbs and vodka. Using a long match or lighter flame the vodka to help cook the alcohol out, or bring to a quick, low boil for 3 minutes then simmer with the lid on your pot (as the sauce may splatter a bit) for another 10. Turn the heat off. Using a hand held blender blend until smooth. Serve over pasta or polenta with mushrooms and a sprinkle of parmigiano on top.