My Italian friend came over yesterday and he showed me how to prepare pasta the Italian way.
He was cooking Penne Alla Vodka. I never heard Vodka to be added into a pasta sauce, this really intrigued me. So we went to shop for fresh ingredients as we were making the sauce from scratch.
Simple Tomato Sauce ( for use with Vodka Sauce ):
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until thick. 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.
Pour half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
Ingredients for Vodka Sauce:
* 1 quart Simple Tomato Sauce blended until smooth
* 1 cup vodka
* 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup grated Romano Cheese
* 1 pound penne
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 Romano cheese until melted and well blended.
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.