Since Shelter in Place, I’ve been cooking a lot more (although if I’m being entirely honest, when it’s really hot, like it’s been for the past week, that changes a bit – hot kitchens are no fun!) and I’ve been toying around with new and different foods and recipes. There’s one recipe that has come out on top consistently, it turns out well every time and my entire family loves it. My picky eater son begs for it every week, and will even help me make it. I’ve not yet tired of it, despite making it often. So, if you’re looking for a new recipe to try that’s easy enough to make on a weeknight, but special enough to make for a Sunday supper, here you go!
The Carrera Family’s Pasta with Vodka Sauce
- 1 package good-quality pasta (look for texture on the dried pasta pieces, imported from Italy and/org bronze-cut as signs it’s a good quality)
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- One medium onion, minced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of vodka
- 1 28-ounce can of tomato sauce (our favorite is honestly the inexpensive, store-brand one from Target!)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (unless you do not like a little spice – then skip this)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Fresh basil & freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnishing
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Toss in a palm full (yes an actual palm full) of salt, then add the pasta and stir. Set a timer for 2 minutes short of the recommended cooking time for the pasta. Before draining, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet with high sides, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat, once heated add minced garlic and onion. Stir and cook until fragrant.
- Add the vodka to the large skillet with the onions and garlic. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, it should be bubbling.
- Add in the salt, pepper and red chili flakes (if using), stir.
- Add the tomato sauce, stir. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat to medium-low.
- Add the cream to the sauce, stir gently. If your family doesn’t like little pieces of onion, at this point I recommend using a stick/immersion blender in the sauce for 30 seconds or so. (Note: be careful and watch out for hot sauce being flung by the blender.)
- Add the pasta to the sauce, stir gently and allow the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce. If the sauce is too thick (unlikely, but just in case) add a little pasta water that you reserved and stir).
- Serve hot and topped with finely chopped fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Note: This recipe makes a generous amount of sauce. You could easily use 1.5 packages of pasta if you have a larger group to feed, and still have enough sauce. We tend to spoon off any extra sauce and save it in the fridge because it’s so good!