Disclaimer: The post you are about to read contains information that could very well be categorized as the antithesis of Nick’s previous post. Read at your own discretion. This sauce and any complementary pasta most definitely fall into the “Foods you should occasionally enjoy” category in the previous post.
Earlier this week, I had a sudden, ravenous inkling for a penne a la vodka dish of some kind. Now, I’ve never previously crafted up my own variation of any sort of pasta sauce, so I figured this would be the perfect time to try it out. After perusing various food blogs and cooking websites along with some extensive googling, I came up with something I could work with. As hard as it is, I’ve been trying embrace new experiences and new things with less regard to performance or outcome, and embarking on a culinary journey proves no different in terms of embodying this mindset. Though I will say it came out quite well. Many, many thanks to The Gourmand Mom for this gem.
World’s Greatest Vodka Sauce
Recipe courtesy of The Gourmand Mom
Serves QUITE a bit
1 onion, chopped
3 gloves garlic
3 shots vodka
1/4 up olive oil
1/4 lb. prosciutto
1 can whole pum tomatoes
2 small cans tomato paste
1 qt. heavy cream (if you desire, use a combination of heavy and light)
1 small bunch of fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 stick butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Vodka Sauce Fixings
Chop onion and garlic and cook in olive oil for a few minutes, or until soft. Add prosciutto and cook for a few minutes. I ended up cutting the prosciutto into small pieces prior to adding to the pan. Form mixture into a circle with a hole in the middle, pour vodka into the center and allow to cook off (about 5 minutes). Obvious, but perhaps not so obvious tip for some: Remember to transfer the vodka into shot glasses, a small bowl, or other container before pouring into simmering pan. Don’t ever pour the vodka or any other alcohol for that matter into a simmering pan from the bottle due to its flammable nature.
Rinse plum tomatoes under water and rinse out all the seeds, as the seeds can cause the sauce to taste bitter. Cut into quarters or eighths and add tomato pieces to mixture. Add cream and tomato paste, stir until combined and hot. Chop 5-6 basil leaves and add to the sauce. Don’t forget to leave some basil out of the mix to add for garnish later on. Add parmesan cheese and butter and simmer over low heat for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste, approximately 1-2 tsp of each or whatever amount is desired. Use in conjunction with your favorite pasta or pair with spring vegetables such as asparagus or peas.
I enjoyed cooking this sauce a lot, for a variety of reasons. I thought the addition of the prosciutto into the sauce provided a subtle, yet necessary component. I ended up only using half the amount of recommended cream, as 1 quart seemed a bit too copious for a sauce that has plenty of other ingredients to add to the richness of this sauce. I think in the future, I’ll opt for the lighter cream, per the aforementioned sentences. 1 pint of light or heavy cream should do the trick. And lastly, this was just a great excuse to go to the liquor store and buy a liter of Grey Goose. I can’t remember the last time I even purchased Grey Goose Vodka, but I can assure you that it is just as smooth in a sauce as it is going down the esophagus in the form of a shot or cocktail. While it is on the pricier side, I’ll remind you that you only need to garner 4.5 ounces of vodka for this recipe. Imagine a high quality vodka sauce with something like Popov vodka in it. Yeah, I can’t either. Your taste buds will thank you immensely for biting the bullet on this one. I’m sure I’ll imbibe in the leftover Grey Goose in the weeks to come. Leftovers, anyone?