Monday, January 7, 2013

Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce

Okay, this WAS going to be Ramen noodles in a Thai peanut sauce, but it came out looking like shit...  literally... so I canned the pics.  LOL!  I made this for when the RL hubby got home, because it's quick, easy, and I have everything IN the pantry and liquor cabinet..  yes, I said liquor cabinet.  Because I am gonna show you another way to enjoy vodka, IN FRONT OF YOUR FAMILY...  hells to the yeah, I hear some of you saying.  LOL!  Sadly, you don't get drunk from it... nonono, wipe the tears away, the flavor makes up for it, I promise;)

I learned how to make this a couple years back, and it is SOOOOO good that I now make it to impress people when I don't have hours to cook.  This only takes about 20 minutes to throw together, and most of the items you will have in your pantry already.  

The original recipe calls for 2 links (3.5 ounces) of sausage: cooked, set aside, the drippings used to sautee the onions and garlic in with the olive oil... and then the sausage added back in with the vodka and cream....but I was too lazy to defrost a pack of sausage.  Bad me...lollol.

Now some of you won't have the right kind of tomatoes, red pepper flakes, or whipping cream (35% cream for whipping, for those outside the US...  cooking cream works well too), so let me give you some substitutions I have used.  You can use diced or whole tomatoes in a can, but I would advise running them through a food processor or blender a bit, as the flavors don't seem to quite blend well when you have tomato chunks in it.  Also, a little red pepper flake REALLY brings out the flavors... but if you are not comfy with using this type of spice, consider a bit of paprika instead.  As for the whipping cream, if you don't have it, here's what I have done when the price was too freakin' much...  substitute 2/3 of the amount for milk, 1/3 the amount for butter (NOT MARGARINE, don't kill this with fake stuff..LOL), and about a teaspoon of flour.  Mix it VERY well into this, so the flour doesn't clump. This will help get the flavor and consistency you are looking for.

You can omit the vodka, but remember..  the alcohol cooks off.  You will NOT get drunk from it, nor will your kids.  In this recipe, it is used purely to add depth to the sauce.  If you have a certified alcoholic in the family though, don't add the vodka.  We want to support those who are fighting that disease, and they will taste the vodka and possibly crave it outside the sauce, if you get my meaning.  

One last thing.... yes, I know I have a total of three kinds of pasta in this dish (penne regate and 2 sizes of fusilli).  This is called "Suff found several boxes of almost-empty boxes of pasta and went 'WTF?', so interpasta pasta ftw".  If you do something like this, make sure to check the amount of cooking time for EACH pasta and start the longest-cooking-time one first.  I know, that seems common sense, but hey, I learned that from watching my mother just dump different pastas into boiling water and us eating some overcooked noodles along with under-cooked
Thankfully, SL hair doesn't end up in your food.

Finished product - Penne/Fusilli in Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce
makes about 4-6 regular servings

1 pound (455 g) uncooked penne pasta
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced (or read this as "6 cloves for garlic lovers" as I do:D)
1/2 (1 g) teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 (1 g) teaspoon parsley
1/2 (1 g) teaspoon sage
1/2 (1 g) teaspoon rosemary
1/2 (1 g)  teaspoon thyme
1 can (28 ounces or 796 ml) crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons ( 30 ml) (or more, depending on your taste) vodka
1/2 cup ( 120 ml) whipping cream
1/4 cup (15 gram) fresh parsley, or dried if that what you got


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente (that's Italian for "almost squishy but still holds it's form"); drain.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil over moderate heat. Add garlic, red pepper, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (half of you are now singing Simon and Garfunkel) and cook, stirring until garlic is golden brown.
  3. Add tomatoes; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Add vodka and cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and add pasta, toss for 1 minute. Stir in fresh parsley and serve!

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