Monday, October 24, 2011

Linguine Alla Vodka

I made this as our meatless meal for the week awhile back and we both really enjoyed it. It's a classic dish for a reason and also happens to be really quick cooking. The vodka and touch of cream makes it filling without being too heavy. I used fresh pasta for this (just the kind you buy in the refrigerated section) and the more expensive San Marzano tomatoes since they are really the star of the dish. I served it with my Caesar Salad and some garlic bread. I adapted this recipe from the Joy of Cooking. Enjoy!

Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2, with leftovers

  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 of a small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28oz can of San Marzano whole tomatoes*
  • 1/4 cup of vodka
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 lb of pasta - I used the fresh Buitoni linguine but really any pasta will do
  • fresh parsley and parmesan cheese for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Set a large pot of water to boil for your pasta.
  2. Peel and finely chop your onion and your garlic.
  3. Finely chop your fresh parsley and grate your parmesan cheese. You probably want a few TBSP of each.
  4. Open and chop the canned tomatoes. I do this with my kitchen scissors, sticking them in the open can and cutting tomatoes into pieces. You can also drain the can and put your tomatoes on a cutting board to do this.
  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add your 3 TBSP of olive oil.
  2. After the oil heats for a couple of minutes, add your chopped onion and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion has softened.
  3. Add your chopped garlic and cook for another minute or so.
  4. Add your chopped tomatoes, minus the juice. If you've chopped them in the can, like I did, just use a slotted spoon to add them, leaving some of the liquid behind. If you chopped them on your cutting board, you've already drained them so just add them in. They should still be juicy but shouldn't have a ton of extra liquid.
  5. Add your 1/4 cup of vodka and stir together. Turn up the heat to medium high and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes.
  6. While your sauce is simmering, cook your pasta. If you use fresh pasta, you can wait until the very end of your simmer time but if you use dried pasta, start cooking it right after you add the vodka to the sauce.
  7. Just before your pasta is finished cooking, turn your heat back down to low on your sauce and add your cream, stirring it in.
  8. Drain your pasta and add it right to your saucepan using tongs to toss the pasta with the sauce. Cook the pasta and sauce together for 3-4 minutes, then serve topped with parmesan cheese and chopped, fresh parsley.

* San Marzano tomatoes - These are imported Italian tomatoes that are more expensive than other varieties but worth the cost, in my opinion. They are not as acidic as regular canned tomatoes and have a little sweetness to them. This is the brand I bought but I know Cento makes a variety too. Chances are, you can find these in your regular grocery store but you may have to search a bit.

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