You can’t whine if your food tastes a bit bland if you use cooking wine in your culinary escapades. The first thing that every aspiring chef needs to know about using wine to cook with is that cooking wine is full of additives, salt and other preservatives that can completely alter the balance of the dish you are preparing.
Put simply, cooking wine is rubbish and is often over seasoned because the wine itself would have almost gone off sitting in casks, and the producers will just put anything in it in order to try and get rid of it before it is written off.
You don’t have to break the bank though, European wines are inexpensive. If you’re are preparing a seafood pasta with shellfish and prawns, you can use a fruity Sauvignon Blanc to balance out the natural and added saltiness of the dish with this fruity wine.
The alcohol will cook off immediately and you will be left with a silky, smooth and slightly fruity sauce that works well with garlic and added chili. It is important to let the wine cook into the sauce for a few minutes, otherwise it will just overpower the dish completely. The best thing about this is that you can enjoy a glass of the tipple yourself while you are cooking and the wine will keep in the fridge for later use.
If you are using red wine to make a sauce for red meat, you might want to try something a bit robust. Again, there is no need to break the bank and a Cabernet Sauvignon will add some great body and richness to the sauce. You need to let this simmer a little longer than you would a white wine sauce. Also, the wine will not keep as long, so you would do well to either finish it off while you cook, as it will only keep on the shelf for about a week without going rancid.