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Can I Use An Alternative To Red Vermouth In The Meatballs With Orzo?

Asked by Sues_C. Answered on 25th April 2024

Full question

I want to try Nigella's Meatballs With Orzo recipe but don't want to use alcohol. Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for red vermouth for this recipe?

Image of Nigella's Meatballs With Orzo
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin
Meatballs with Orzo
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella's Meatballs With Orzo (from AT MY TABLE) is a one-pot dish where meatballs are cooked in a tomato sauce and orzo pasta is added to the pot towards the end of the cooking time. The orzo cooks through and absorbs some of the flavours from the sauce.

Red vermouth is a fortified wine that has been infused with aromatic herbs. It lasts for quite a while once opened and is a great storecupboard standby. It is added to the sauce to give extra depth of flavour. However, if you want to avoid alcohol then we would suggest omitting the vermouth and adding a tablespoon of tomato purée (tomato paste) plus 3 extra tablespoons of water instead. If you don't need to avoid alcohol then you could use regular red wine as an alternative.

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