Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rigatoni & Vodka Sauce

We love some good Italian food in our house. Which means we also like Giada De Laurentiis. This vodka sauce recipe is courtesy of her first cookbook, Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes. We love this cookbook and try to pull it out often.

This is not a new recipe in our kitchen we love this sauce and make large batches to freeze for quick meals. The sauce itself is tangy and you can taste the vodka in the sauce so be sure to get a good vodka. It's not so potent that it would be an issue for children though. This is also a great vegetarian meal. We served this with some homemade garlic toast and a salad. You could also add sausage to this if you need meat.

Vodka Sauce
1 quart Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce, blended until smooth
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound Rigatoni

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 Parmesan 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.

Most of Giada's sauces start with this simple tomato sauce recipe. This sauce is good just by itself as a marinara also. You'll probably have some leftover so freeze it in ice cube trays and pull them out for single servings of pasta for a lunch.

Simple Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. 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.

If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and then pour 1 to 2 cup portions into plastic freezer bags. Freeze for up to 6 months.

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Similar Recipes:
Rigatoni with Squash and Prawns
More Pasta Dishes

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