Monday, May 20, 2013

Vodka Sauce for Pasta

Annie's got this one just right.
I adjusted her version very slightly to simplify the tomato step.

1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup minced onion
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. table salt
¼ to 1/3 cup vodka
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup reserved pasta water, if needed
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

16 oz. dried pasta

Boil water for pasta. Cook according to taste/directions.

Pulse tomatoes and liquid in blender three or four times. (The quickest of button pushes)

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and mix just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the tomatoes and salt. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vodka. Return the pan to the heat and simmer briskly until the alcohol flavor is cooked off, about 8-10 minutes. Stir frequently and lower the heat if the simmering becomes too vigorous. Stir in the cream and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. (Take care not to cook the cream too long or the sauce will separate). 

Stir in the basil and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

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