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Vodka with dinner? Yes please! Hehe. Add in pasta and it makes it that much better! 🙂 I’ve always eyed the jars of vodka sauce in the grocery store, curious about what it really was. It just seems odd to add something such as vodka to a pasta sauce. But much to my surprise, it is awesome! And I’ve made it twice now in the last couple of weeks. It’s fast and easy, and really good. It has a little kick from the red pepper flakes, with a little bite from the remaining vodka. It’s a perfect way to jazz up spaghetti night at home!One Year Ago: Morning Harvest Muffins and Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells with Smoky Marinara

Penne alla Vodka

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ small onion, minced (about ¼ cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
â…“cup vodka
½ cup heavy or whipping cream
1 pound penne, or desired pasta shape
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
Parmesan cheese, for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, until just shy of al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, add half of the tomatoes to your food processor and pulse until smooth. Dice the remaining tomatoes into ½-inch pieces. In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the diced and pureed tomatoes and add the reserved tomato liquid until the total measures 2 cups.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add in the onion and tomato paste, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Mix in the tomatoes and salt; take the pan off of the heat and add the vodka. Return pan to medium-high heat and simmer until the alcohol flavor is mostly cooked off, about 8 to 10 minutes; stir constantly, lowering the heat if needed to maintain a simmer. Stir in the cream and cook until hot, about 1 minute.

Add the pasta back to the large pot; pour the sauce over the pasta, and toss over medium heat until the pasta absorbs some of sauce, about 1-2 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add the reserved pasta water as needed. Stir in the basil and season to taste with additional salt, if necessary. Serve immediately, garnished with freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese.

Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures via Cook’s Illustrated

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