I had seen this recipe (or, I guess, versions of this recipe anyway) around the ole’ internets. Here and there. And I always thought the same thing: Why the heck would you put vodka in pasta sauce?
Vodka… in pasta sauce.
I get wine. Wine in sauce totally makes sense. You drink wine with pasta. It’s a thing.
Yeah, you could totally drink vodka with pasta too… sure. It just doesn’t seem like the intuitive thing. That’s all.
My point is, I was skeptical. I was skeptical that this wouldn’t taste like a bad cocktail. I was skeptical that this was something that should be paired together over pasta; vodka and tomatoes. Weird couple. And you know what, I’m just going to say it: I was a little skeptical of the motives of this recipes’ original creator. I mean…. why did they decide to put vodka in their pasta sauce… what made them think to do that… is this the sort of person I should trust for dinner ideas… I’ll let you work that one out.
But then one night, I was out. And I was with a friend, eating somewhere I had never been. And there wasn’t much on the menu that I was feeling. So I got the soup. Which happened to be a tomato soup, that had vodka in it. And. It was pretty delicious. So I recanted my skepticism and…. I made pasta.
Pasta all Vodka, recipe (barely) adapted from here.
Needed: 16 ounces dried pasta (any kind you like), 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup vodka, 1/3 cup cream, and fresh basil for serving.
Cook your pasta according to the directions, or if you feel confident enough don’t even look at those directions. Tempt fate.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a sauce pan. Sautee the onions until they begin to soften then add the garlic. Drain the tomatoes of the juices (reserve them as you may find that you want to add it in later if you think the sauce is too thick). Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, vodka and cream. Cook for 4-5 minutes, letting everything mingle. Get to know each other. Now you need to blend up the sauce. I do this using an immersion blender (love my immersion blender!) but you could also do this in batches in a blender, or for a more rustic sauce simply use a large wooden spoon to crush the whole tomatoes against the side of the pot.
Once the sauce is blended and hot, serve over warm pasta with a few ribbons of fresh basil. Do it.