The Boozy Ingredient To Add Depth To Store-Bought Pizza Sauce

Adding alcohol to recipes is nothing new. It's clear people love the flavor of booze in their dinner –  penne alla vodka has been a popular dish for years. But noodles aren't the only way to incorporate liquor into your food; a splash of booze can elevate fried chicken, sautéed mushrooms, baked apples, and so much more. In fact, if you have old wine you no longer want to drink, it's a strategic move to freeze it for future recipes.

So why are we pouring our alcohol into food instead of drinking it? Booze actually makes your food smell better by linking its scent to your nose's smell receptors. And not only will your house have a heavenly aroma, but your food will taste better, as liquor bonds with fat and water molecules to enhance flavor. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol doesn't always burn off entirely during cooking, depending on how much is used, so if you're cooking for people who don't drink, you may want to steer clear of adding it to your food. But as long as everyone around your table enjoys a boozy beverage, you can seriously elevate your pizza sauce with this ingredient.

Add red wine to bring your pizza sauce to the next level

We know red wine is delicious on its own or in meat-based recipes like short ribs, pork tenderloin, and beef stew. So why not add it to pizza sauce? This may sound a little out-of-pocket, but a glass of red wine and a slice (or box) of pizza truly go together like peanut butter and jelly. Not to mention, red wines pair beautifully with richer meals and are traditionally drunk alongside warm food in the fall and winter. So if you're making a steaming hot pizza at home, it may behoove you to add a little red wine to your store-bought pizza sauce.

Using booze in your sauce does add an extra step to the pizza-making process, but the resulting depth of flavor is more than worth it. You can use the wine to deglaze your skillet if you add other ingredients like onions, garlic, or herbs — and once the wine has cooked down a bit, pour in your store-bought sauce and let it soak up all those boozy juices. If you're wondering which wines work best here, Sangiovese and Barbera work well with tomato-based sauces, while a full-bodied red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon will bring a bold flavor, and a Pinot Noir will taste more fruity. Whichever red wine you choose, you'll end up with a deliciously robust pizza sauce.