My Grilled Pizza: The Vodka Sauce

Updated: Mar 14

These few weeks, Vodka Sauce had been popping up a lot on my social media feeds, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. Out of curiosity, I dug deep into research. The sauce is actually created by some of the early Italian migrants residing in the USA many years ago. It somehow gained its popularity in the 1970s. What makes this sauce distinctive from the usual tomato sauce is it's vibrant orange color, as heavy cream is added. Vodka is an emulsifier, serving to stabilize the sauce when the oil of the cream would react with the acidity from tomato sauce causing a messy watery oily separation. That is how vodka sauce came about.

Vodka sauce is used vastly in pasta and pizza. So I thought, why not use the sauce on my grilled pizza. The sauce is fairly easy to make. It uses only a few ingredients, but you have to get the best quality ones. After tasting this pizza, it just shot up to my #2 spot, just below Margherita. Sorry, Marinara. I get the creaminess of the tomato sauce, and what intrigues me is the vodka aftertaste which lingers at the back of my mouth for quite some time. The basil and cheeses just compliment the sauce so well.

Perhaps I have my place in pizza, which is grilled and fried pizzas. But in the near distant future, I will re-visit the pizzas from around the globe. Just have to test and experiment on different ovens and techniques to replicate a wood fire oven at a home kitchen. In the meantime, let's get started with the recipe.

Ingredients:

(Make 3 grilled pizzas)

  • Vodka Sauce:

  • Good Quality Tomatoes Canned Peeled Preferably Organic and Muir Glen, 14OZ

  • Olive Oil, 1 TBSP

  • Unsalted Butter, 1 TBSP

  • Garlic Finely Minced, 2 Cloves

  • Dried Italian Herbs, 1/2 TSP

  • Chili Flakes, 1/4 TSP Or More If You Are Awesome

  • Heavy Cream, 1/2 CUP

  • Vodka, 1/6 Cup

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Black Pepper Pinch

  • Pizza:

  • Grilled Pizza Dough, 3 Dough Balls

  • Sesame Oil, For Brushing

  • Low Moisture Mozzarella Freshly Shredded, A Handful

  • Fresh Moisture Mozzarella Freshly Shredded, A Few Pinches

  • Parmigiano Reggiano Freshly Grated, A Few Sprinkles

  • Fleur de Sel, Pinch

  • Black Pepper, Pinch

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Fresh Basil, A Handful

  • Pure Honey, For Drizzling

Equipment:

  • Griddle / Grill Oven

  • Sauce Pot

  • Blender

Directions:

  1. Please visit my "My Grilled Pizza Journey and Beyond" page for more information.

  2. Please visit my "Grilled Pizza Dough" page for the recipe.

  3. Prepare the vodka sauce.

  4. Transfer the canned tomatoes into a bowl and using your hands to crush the tomatoes.

  5. In a sauce pot over medium heat, add in olive oil and butter.

  6. As soon the oil is heated up and butter starts to melt, add in garlic, herbs and chili flakes.

  7. Saute until aromatic.

  8. Add in tomatoes and stir to combine well.

  9. Bring it up to simmer.

  10. Continue simmering for about 5 mins or until the sauce is reduced to 3/4.

  11. Add in cream and stir to combine well.

  12. Allow the sauce to simmer for another 5 mins or until it is reduced to 3/4.

  13. Add in the vodka and stir to combine well.

  14. Allow the alcohol to evaporate, for about 3 to 5 mins.

  15. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

  16. Transfer into a blender.

  17. Blitz until smooth.

  18. Transfer into a sterilized jar until ready to use.

  19. *It can be kept in the fridge for about 1 week.*

  20. Prepare the pizza.

  21. Once you have rolled out your pizza dough, brush the dough with sesame oil using a pastry brush.

  22. *Remember to use a fork and gently poke all over. This is crucial as it will prevent the crust to puff up.*

  23. In a griddle over medium heat, gently place in the dough oiled side down.

  24. Carefully and gently, using your hands to press down the dough to make sure the whole dough sits fully on the griddle.

  25. Brush the top with more sesame oil.

  26. Grill until almost charred.

  27. Flip the dough.

  28. Spread a thin layer of the vodka sauce onto the pizza.

  29. Add the low-moisture mozzarella and pinches of fresh mozzarella onto the sauce, distributing them evenly.

  30. Lastly, sprinkle the Parmigiano over the top.

  31. Immediately cover the griddle to generate steam so that the cheese will melt.

  32. As soon as the cheese melts and bottom is charred, remove the cover.

  33. Remove the pizza from heat and transfer onto a serving plate.

  34. Immediately, season with fleur de sel and pepper.

  35. Using a pair of scissors, cut the basil over the top.

  36. Finally, drizzle some honey over the top in a spiral motion.

  37. Repeat the steps for the remaining pizzas.

  38. Slice and serve immediately.

#pizza #grilledpizza #vodkasauce

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