Thursday, September 01, 2005
Penne with Vodka Sauce
So, creating my own vodka sauce has long been on my list of culinary endeavours even though I somehow managed to leave it off of my list of Cooking Projects (it's on there now, with a strike through it to indicate "done").
My idea was pretty simple, really - use my marinara sauce as a base, adding vodka, cream and crushed red pepper (the Trader Joe's vodka sauce has some kick which I really like). Before venturing into the kitchen, I preused the internet to look at other recipes for vodka sauce to get an idea of how much vodka or cream I might want to use. I came upon this one from Giada which followed my basic ideas (except she uses carrots and celeary in her sauce - blech - they just don't belong in marinara, IMO). Some of the vodka sauces I've tried have had a smoky flavor to them. Although I'm not entirely sure where the smoky flavor comes from, it may come from the proscuitto that some recipes on the internet call for. In order to keep to our strict budget, I will not be trying it with proscuitto this time. Nor will I be using fresh basil, but I think this would be a very good addition.
All in all this recipe came out very well and I was quite pleased. I'd love to try reducing the fat, but I suspect that nothing short of cream will do - this sauce really depends on it.
One day of watching a pot of marinara opens the door to an easy weeknight meal of Vodka Sauce or a Red Clam Sauce. With just a couple of tweaks, a basic marinara sauce, wonderful in its own right, can be turned into something special with little effort.
4.5 cups of Marinara Magnifica
1/2-1 cup vodka
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
3/4-1 cup heavy cream
Heat the marinara, vodka sauce and red pepper flakes together, simmering until the sauce reduces slightly and thickens. Add the cream and heat through.