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Bad wine for good sauce?
July 5, 2010 7:57 PM   Subscribe

Can I use one-week-old red wine that has essentially turned (smells vinegary, tastes unpleasant) to make spaghetti sauce?

Or will it taste like shit?
posted by donpedro to Food & Drink (29 answers total)
 
The flavor that you're tasting when you drink it will be the exact same flavor you're putting in the sauce. Dump it.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 7:58 PM on July 5, 2010


Sure! If you want unpleasant tasting spaghetti.
posted by birdherder at 8:01 PM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's pretty much what I figured. Was hoping somehow my culinary instincts might be wrong and the vino would be salvageable. (Luckily I do have a fresh bottle on hand too.)
posted by donpedro at 8:04 PM on July 5, 2010


Well, I always add red wine vinegar to any pasta sauce made with tomatoes, with fantastic results, so your instincts might not be that off. The opportunity cost is so low I'd give it a try. You might become the next Gusteau!
posted by Cobalt at 8:14 PM on July 5, 2010


Yeah, if that flavor works for you, use it and adjust seasoning accordingly! We make red wine vinegar at home and add it to sauce sometimes. But if it's turned in a bad way, dtmfa.
posted by Mngo at 8:34 PM on July 5, 2010


I seem to always have tiny remnants - a bad habit of drinking three glasses too many, rather than four - but I look for opportunities to use it in two or three days. I'd use a little of it, the alcohol is going to cook off anyway, and that's what's turned, but leave some flavor behind, but a whole (or half) bottle would scare me.
posted by Some1 at 8:43 PM on July 5, 2010


Next time -- freeze your leftovers. Frozen wine (that was good when it went into the freezer) is great for cooking. It freezes into slush, so it's easy to scoop out as much or as little as you want.
posted by kmennie at 8:50 PM on July 5, 2010


The rule is that you shouldn't cook with anything you wouldn't drink.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 8:57 PM on July 5, 2010


I do this all the time, it works out fine.
posted by fifilaru at 9:23 PM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd use it. I always add a little balsamic vinegar into my sauce anyways. If the result is too acidic for you just add some sugar into the sauce to cut down the sharp flavours. If you try it at least you'll know for next time.
posted by talkingmuffin at 9:24 PM on July 5, 2010


I agree with notjustfoxybrown: I never put ingredients into my food that I would not eat (or drink) on their own.
posted by komara at 9:31 PM on July 5, 2010


Eh, I use wine in cooking that's either not to my taste or a bit old all the time, especially in something like tomato sauce that has a lot of other strong flavors.

If it has a really strongly unpleasant taste, then yeah, chuck it. But if it's just unpleasant because it's been open too long, but was tasty when first opened, it'll be fine.
posted by desuetude at 9:32 PM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree with notjustfoxybrown: I never put ingredients into my food that I would not eat (or drink) on their own.

Being a bit pedantic here, but I have little interest in drinking things like chinese cooking wine or soy sauce on their own, and a mouthful of cornflower isn't very pleasant either.

But back to the main question. As others have said, you're dealing now with vinegar, not wine. If you think your recipe allows for vinegar to be substituted or if you feel like experimenting, then go for it, just don't expect it to turn out the same as if you used good wine. You might want to cut back a bit on the quantity as well.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:04 PM on July 5, 2010


if you're making traditional red sauce,wine is not an ingredient. Tomato, oregano, onion and garlic
posted by the noob at 11:34 PM on July 5, 2010


Yup. With wine, this is the rule of thumb: If you don't enjoy drinking it then you won't enjoy eating it either. Especially if you need the wine for a pan sauce. It will just result in concentrated bad flavor. (I did this before. It was inedible.)
posted by kuju at 11:50 PM on July 5, 2010


When you say it "tastes unpleasant," do you mean other than tasting vinegary? If not, hooray! You've got red wine vinegar, which is useful in lots of things. As this thread shows, opinions differ on whether it is good in tomato sauce (personally, I don't think so; tomatoes are acidic enough as is), but even if you don't use it in the tomato sauce, there's plenty of other recipes that use it.

OTOH, if by "tastes unpleasant" you mean something funky other than an acidic vinegary taste, dump it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:33 AM on July 6, 2010


(cornflour, dammit. how did that happen?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:41 AM on July 6, 2010


notjustfoxybrown: "The rule is that you shouldn't cook with anything you wouldn't drink."

I'm never using olive oil/vinegar/tabasco sauce again, in that case!

Seriously though, if the wine has just turned vinegary, then it's fine, since hey, you can buy red wine vinegar at the store anyway, right? So if red wine vinegar is something you think would add flavor to your sauce, then go for it!
posted by Grither at 5:44 AM on July 6, 2010


I add old, turned wine to spaghetti sauce all the time. It's how I get rid of my old wine. I love the taste it adds to the sauce. In my view, it makes the sauce taste more robust with a hint of wine flavor and I really don't taste the vinegary or unpleasantness in my sauce. I add about a tablespoon or two for half a jar of sauce. My family now requests that I make the spaghetti based on large part on the sauce (the other being the garlic toast).
posted by forforf at 7:16 AM on July 6, 2010


It tastes bad, but you want to cook with it? No. If you decide to persist be aware that the surface of open wine can grow mold in just a couple of days.
posted by Nelson at 9:00 AM on July 6, 2010


I agree with notjustfoxybrown: I never put ingredients into my food that I would not eat (or drink) on their own.

I disagree. Let me introduce you to fish sauce. Alone, it is putrid and vile liquid that could easily replace ipecac syrup if one needs to induce vomiting. In carefully calculated proportions, it is an essential ingredient to a plethora of dishes from, in my opinion, the best cuisines on this planet.
posted by Beardsley Klamm at 10:14 AM on July 6, 2010


UbuRoivas, Beardsley Klamm: okay, fine, I'll both concede that you have valid points and also clarify. I recognize that some ingredients by themselves are borderline inedible (fish sauce, cornmeal) but they do have something that could be considered a standard for usability. If my cornmeal turned green or my fish sauce sprouted mold, I would not use it. The resulting dish made from those ingredients wouldn't be up to par. Likewise I have certain expectations of wine as an ingredient, and if it's not right it has great potential to ruin the dish.
posted by komara at 10:52 AM on July 6, 2010


Italians use "old" wine for cooking All-The-Time. The alcohol or vinegar evaporates anyway.
posted by uauage at 12:30 PM on July 6, 2010


Let me clarify: You should not cook with any wine you would not drink. OK?
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 4:33 PM on July 6, 2010


Chinese cooking wine? *ducks*
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:16 PM on July 6, 2010


Let me clarify: You should not cook with any wine you would not drink. OK?

I agree. It is perfectly acceptable to cook with vinegar you would not drink. Even if said vinegar was wine a week earlier.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:20 PM on July 6, 2010


It tastes bad, but you want to cook with it? No. If you decide to persist be aware that the surface of open wine can grow mold in just a couple of days.

I suppose if left in a shallow dish in the open air? But who leaves their wine open without a cork in it? I have never had mold grow in wine, and there are a lot of half-finished bottles of mediocre wine hanging around my house for weeks following any party.
posted by desuetude at 9:04 PM on July 6, 2010


You should not cook with any wine you would not drink.

To my shame, I have been known to drink awful, turned & vinegary wine that I would never dream of cooking with.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:38 AM on July 7, 2010


Is there a difference between turned/vinegary and oxidized? I seem to be really sensitive to oxidation and have tossed way more half-full bottles of day-old red wine than I care to think about. If letting the oxidized wine sit will turn it to usable vinegar instead of blech ptui! I'll certainly give it a try. (I think I might even have a vinegar mother in a bottle of organic vinegar in the pantry... at least I hope that's what's in that bottle of organic vinegar in the pantry...)
posted by Lexica at 7:35 PM on July 7, 2010


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