Cure for the uncommonly cold
Now is the time for comfort food. I recently got a gift subscription to Bon Appetit and their main articles this month were on cheese and caramel; it’s been incredibly cold; I’ve been busy with work and new projects, like knitting my first hat. When I cook, I just want something good. Good to eat with a quilt across my lap while watching something enriching on my new favorite channel, Create. Produce is a rarity around here, except for Cuties (so cheap and juicy!) so I’ve been getting my fill of starches and dairy.
A comfort food recipe that’s always been in the back of my mind was pasta alla vodka. I remember having it at our family friend Lynn’s apartment in Chicago. I was still in my picky eater stage, but Lynn let me “help” cook the sauce and served it with her delicious garlic bread. Years later, I read a similar recipe on Smitten Kitchen, borrowed from Rachael Ray. I generally wouldn’t trust RR to help me recreate homey nostalgic dishes, but this time, SK’s endorsement convinced me. The sauce turned out richer than I remembered, almost like tomato basil soup. Heavy cream is amazing like that. The vodka adds a unique layer of flavor to the sauce that I can’t quite put my finger on. We ate it with long spaghetti, but it’s one of those sauces that would work better with a short noodle like penne or rotini.
RR named this dish “You Won’t Be Single For Long” Vodka Cream Pasta, but let’s not start any rumors. I made it for Jake and he liked it. That’s the only thing to report about that.
Pasta alla Vodka
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
about half a yellow onion, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 T chopped fresh basil
Boil water in a large pot. Add pasta when boiling.
Heat a large, high-sided skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and onions. Gently saute onions for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan and reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Serve hot and top with parmesan. And of course, it makes excellent leftovers.
This entry was posted on Thursday, February 5th, 2009 at 8:16 pm and is filed under Food & Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.