Happy day after Christmas all! I hope your holidays are going swimmingly. If so good deal. If not, then perhaps a little good food will put that pep back in your step. Well ok, that might be over simplifying things a bit...but hey, I’m just a writer not a psychoanalyst.
So as I promised during the intro to the Teaser 2 for Bigfoot Hunters (which if you haven’t read yet...go do so! No Vodka Sauce for you until then! I’ll wait. :) , here, as a sequel of sorts to my Chili Recipe, is my recipe for Vodka Sauce (insert riotous applause).
Fortunately, unlike my Chili recipe, this isn’t an all day affair. You can prepare this and be eating in about a half-hour. It’s a nice simple recipe, really hard to screw up unless you’re a total incompetent and if you are then chances are you’re still sitting there trying to find the On switch of your PC rather than reading this.
Oh as an aside, a big apology for the pictures for this one. I stupidly forgot to take pictures until after the fact. Little things like major holidays tend to get in the way of things like clear thinking. Oh well, it's overrated anyway. Now, without further ado...
Quick note: All spices listed below are approximations. Please adjust to your own tastes. For example, if you don’t like garlic, use less, etc etc. If you have no idea what your tastes are, then my suggestion is to stop right now and go get yourself a Big Mac. Leave the cooking to the big boys and girls.
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil (if you’re a Rachel Ray fan you can insist on EVOO, if not...more power to you!)
1 heaping tablespoon of minced Garlic
1 – 2 cups of Heavy Cream (see below)
2 cans of Tomato Sauce (I think they’re either 12 or 16 ounces, whatever a normal size can is. What!? Do I look like your neighborhood grocer???)
1 6oz can of Tomato Paste
3 or 4 fresh Basil Leaves (finely chopped, minced, or torn to shreds)
~5 ounces (total) of grated Parmesan and Romano cheese. (you can use the canned stuff, you filthy Philistine, you...but fresh will taste better)
3 ounces of Vodka (doesn’t have to be top notch, but I’d avoid the $3 / liter shit if I were you). Note: if you can’t have vodka for whatever reason or you don’t have any, you can substitute Gin without affecting the flavor of this recipe. Trust me, I’ve done it. It works)
Garlic Powder (optional depending on how much real garlic you have handy)
Hot Sauce (generic Frank’s or Tabasco hot sauce tends to work just fine)
Time to Cook: About a half hour*
* Another note: (yes I’m going to keep doing this!) the time to make this sauce is almost a perfect match for the time it’ll take to make a pound of pasta. I’d recommend starting them at the same time. Just my $0.02.
Makes: Enough to literally drown a pound of pasta is you’re like me and like plenty of extra sauce to mop up with garlic bread. However, if not, then easily makes enough for a pound and a half.
In a medium sized sauce pan (yeah, nebulous ain’t it...look at the ingredients above. Will they fit!? If so then you have the right sized pan. If not, try again, genius)...
Anyway, in a medium sized sauce pan: toss in the Olive Oil, Butter, Garlic, and Basil. Turn on stove to a medium flame. As the butter melts, stir to combine into slurry of sorts. Add in a generous coating of Pepper, a pinch of Salt, and a coating of Onion Powder.
One it’s heated and mixed (you’ll smell it...and it’s a GOOD smell), add in the vodka.
Reduce for a few minutes. Note: DO NOT reduce down to nothing. You want to reduce about half way until it thickens up a bit.
Add Cream. If you like a lighter color/creamier sauce add 2 cups. If you’re more of a tomato sauce type of person, then add 1.
Stir until fully mixed. Reduce heat (about half way) and let it heat up. You can bring it to just a boil, but DO NOT over-boil.
Add 1 can of Tomato Sauce. Stir until it’s completely mixed in. Repeat with the second can.
Here’s where you’ll want to start spicing things up a bit. As you mix it together and it heats up, perform a few tastes tests.
Typically what I would add at this point are:
More pepper...usually a generous portion. (I love a peppery Vodka Sauce)
Another pinch of Salt
Garlic Powder if needed
A couple of drops of hot sauce. Adds some bite to it, but be careful. Add too much and you’ll turn this into a reasonable facsimile of Rattlesnake Pasta (again, trust me on this)
By this point it should start bubbling a bit. From here on out you’ll want to mix CONSTANTLY. Failure to do so will burn your sauce.
Add in about half of the Tomato Paste (about 3 oz). (Ideally you should put the rest of the can away in the fridge. However, if you’re like me just toss it in the garbage. Yeah it’s wasteful, but I’m the type who will put a half can of paste in the fridge and then forget about it until such time as it gains sentience)
Stir until the Paste is thoroughly mixed in. This will thicken the sauce slightly.
Next start adding in the Grated Cheese. Add about half and then stir in until it’s melted. Repeat with the rest.
Finally eat it...preferably with some pasta. Works with just about anything: Penne, Ziti, even Spaghetti. Garlic bread makes a hell of a side too for it.
When you’re finished, you can refrigerate for a few days and then just nuke it to your heart’s content.
Enjoy with my compliments. Should you try this recipe, please let me know how it goes. If you like it, please share it with others. If you like it a lot, feel free to use it and claim it as your own to friends and family...it's ok. We'll both know the truth.