Vodka Sauce

Penne a la Vodka SaucePerusing Pinterest, I came across a pretty tasty looking recipe for vodka sauce.  I’m not usually one to cook with cream, but the recipe writer said she wasn’t either.  It looked like a pretty simple recipe, not overly creamy, but just enough to make it tasty.  I was feeling adventurous so I cooked up a double batch, and served it with penne.  It was soo good and while it took a while to complete, didn’t take a lot of work.

Here’s what you need for a single batch:

1 pound pasta (I did penne), cooked according to package directions

2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 medium onions, diced or chopped (I did mine in the food processor)

3 cloves garlic, diced (I did mine in the food processor with the onion)

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vodka

2 cans San Marzano whole tomatoes

handful fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried basil

1/2 cup heavy cream

Here’s what you do:

(Note – Step 10 mentions eating the sauce today or tomorrow.  If you want to eat today, it’s probably a good idea to cook the pasta while you are on step 7 – the 1.5 hour oven step.)

1.  Heat the olive oil in a pan that you can move to the oven and has a tight fitting lid.

2.  Add the onion and garlic over medium-high heat and cook for about 5 minutes.

3.  Add the crushed red pepper, oregano and salt and cook another minute or so.Vodka sauce - cooking onions

4.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

5.  Add the vodka, turn up the heat, and cook until it reduces by at least half, about 3-5 minutes.

6.  Using your hands, remove the tomatoes from the juice and crush them into the onion/vodka mixture.  (Be careful, they squirt.  I find it’s best to first poke a hole with your finger and then crush).  You won’t use the juices, so reserve for another recipes, or do what I did, and whip up a batch of meatballs at the same time, using the tomato juice to cook the meatballs.

7.  Mix the tomatos into the onions, cover with the lid, and bake in the oven for an hour and a half.

8.  Remove from the oven, and working in batches, puree the tomato mixture until smooth, adding the basil to the food processor with the tomato mixture.

9.  Return the smooth sauce to the pot, add the heavy cream and the parmesan cheese.  Bring to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.cream into vodka sauce

vodka sauce

10.  If you want to eat immediately, cook the pasta according to directions on the package and mix the sauce into the pasta with a little extra cheese mixed in.  Or you can allow the sauce to sit overnight to allow the flavors to meld and then serve the next day over fresh pasta.

Enjoy!

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