Friday, October 12, 2007

Vodka Sauce

Why is it that we often are reluctant to make dishes at home that we love so much at restaurants? Well, of course they won't taste the same, right? Wrong! My shining light, Giada, has a wonderful recipe for vodka sauce both in her Everyday Italian cookbook and it's also available on the Food Network website, which is where I came across it again earlier this week.

I never thought to make the sauce from the cookbook because 1.) how can it be better than what I can be served in a restaurant?, and 2.) Kyle is not at all a fan of vodka sauce (gasp!). I had thumbed past it a number of times but finally decided I would make it for myself for lunch on a day where I would be home for lunch...which happened to be today as I had taken the day off from work. Yay!

The result? ummm....YUM!!! This sauce really was one of the best vodka sauces I've ever had and it was so easy to put together! It was perfectly creamy and the vodka flavor really came through but wasn't at all overpowering. The recipe gives instruction for a homemade sauce but since I already had some on hand, I skipped that part and cut a good 45 minutes off the recipe. I halved the recipe and ended up freezing the 2 remaining servings in Ziploc bags layed flat in the freezer for the next time I have a craving for vodka sauce.

Vodka Sauce
source: Giada De Laurentiis
  • 1 quart Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce, blended until smooth
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound penne (I used tortellini)
  1. Simmer the tomato sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir the cream into the tomato and vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to the pan with the sauce, and toss to coat.

Simple Tomato Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 4 to 6 basil leaves
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
  1. In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until thick.
  2. Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning. If sauce tastes too acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavor.
  3. Pour half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
  4. If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and then pour 1 to 2 cup portions into plastic freezer bags. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Without making sauce:

Prep time: 2 minutes (without making sauce)

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 6

Including making sauce:

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Serves: 6


Dori said...

looks delicious, but where's the vodka?????? ;)

Gillian said...

wow... you need to teach me to take really awesome food photos! I took a bunch of 35 mm photography classes and take really good photos of everything but food! I'm blaming my crappy digital camera! hee hee ;)

This looks so yummy! I'll have to try it soon!