After a long day, I walked into the kitchen and put a pot of water on the stove to boil fingerling potatoes when my kitchen faucet broke... the handle to control flow just snapped off. After making the appropriate phone calls, I thought to myself, what can I make tonight without running water? I hadn't even washed the potatoes yet. The first thing I thought of was tomato vodka sauce. Thank God I already had a pot of water on the stove so at least I could cook the pasta.
This is absolutely my favorite pasta sauce. It is easy and wonderfully delicious. I made this sauce for the first time about 5 years ago and haven't changed the recipe since. That just goes to show that great food doesn't have to be complicated!
Tomato Vodka Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 can crushed tomatoes, San Marzano if possible (28 oz)
3/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 tsp table salt
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter. Once oil is shimmering and butter starts to foam, add garlic, shallots, and crushed red pepper flakes. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes. Stir and let simmer for about 20 min, until reduced. I usually go do other things like wash dishes. But without running water, I opted to update the blog instead :-)
Add vodka. Cook for another 10 minutes. The vapors will be very vodka-y during this process. Add heavy cream and a touch of salt to taste. Reduce heat to low. Stir in fresh basil. Let sit for another minute or two and then remove from heat.
Toss with 1lb al dente penne (or gnocchi or cheese tortellini). Serve with freshly grated parmesan.