October 22, 2011

Vodka Pasta

Vodka pasta always seems like a treat when I go to an Italian restaurant, not thinking I can make it at home. I have tried Ina's vodka pasta recipe and while it turned out well, I was put-off by the complexity of the recipe and the 3 hour cooking time. This basic vodka sauce is from Giada and more importantly, is easy and quick - about 45 min to an hour. 

Vodka Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes
Adapted from Giada

6 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped)
1 large shallot, chopped (or two smaller shallots)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 cans of whole tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 tsp sugar (more based on your taste)
Garlic powder
Cherry tomatoes, cut in half (amount is based on what you prefer)
Cooked pasta (Penne and bowtie work well here)

1. In a cold pot, put the chopped garlic, chopped shallots, butter and dried herbs. Turn on the heat to medium high and let it cook down until the shallots start to get a little glazed.
2. Add in the whole tomatoes. I use my wooden spoon and smoosh the tomatoes into large chunks. I like to let this sit for about 5 minutes so the flavors start mixing together. Take a quick taste for flavor. Add in additional dried herbs if you need to.
3. Pour in the vodka.
4. Add in a can of tomato paste. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to medium low and let it cook for 10-15 minutes for the vodka to incorporate well.
5. Now the tasting/testing begins. I add in a tsp of sugar to bring out the flavor of the tomato and a quick dash of garlic powder. Take a quick taste and add in additional sugar, salt and/or pepper.
6. Add in the cream. You can probably omit this step if you prefer, but why?
7. Last, add in the parmesan and your vodka sauce is done!
8. Using a mix of bowtie and penne pasta (so the sauce sticks better and gets into those nooks), I add that to a large medium hot pan with olive oil and additional garlic. I add the cherry tomatoes and give it a give stir to warm through.
9. Add a few large spoonfuls of sauce on top and incorporate well.  Turn off the heat and if you'd like, add additional cheese. Serve with some roasted chicken and veggies! 

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