I had a few requests for the recipe for the vodka sauce. The problem? I have no recipe for the vodka sauce. And including phrases like, “Simmer until you can’t taste vodka” or “saute until you think it’s done” just seemed wrong. I conferred with my co-chef (BTB Celeste) and this is what we came up with.
Luxirare-Inspired Penne alla Vodka*
Yields servings for 12
2 large cans of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
12 oz. of half and half
1 small can of tomato paste (approx. 4 oz.)
Half of a large Spanish onion
enough olive oil to coat the pan and cover onions
2/3 of a head of garlic
red pepper flakes to taste
2/3 cup braseola, cut in lardons (cut about a half inch thick; can substitute prosciutto)
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (plus 1/4 cup to sprinkle before serving)
1/2 cup of vodka
1/4 cup basil, chopped (plus 1/8 cup chiffonade for garnish)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot. Add onions and saute until soft. Add Braseole and garlic, cook for 10 minutes (be careful not to let the garlic burn). Turn up heat and add tomatoes, salt, red pepper flakes, chopped basil, and tomato paste until the mixture simmers. Return to medium heat and add cheese, half and half, and vodka. Turn heat way down and let simmer until the alcohol has cooked off, about 35 minutes. Salt to taste.
*Dear friends, please keep in mind that this is my rough estimate of the recipe. If the sauce is way too tomato-ey for your taste, add more cream. If it’s way too thick, add a little more liquid. If you’re drunk after one sip, maybe let it cook down longer than I suggested. This is kind of what I love about cooking. Yours won’t be anything like mine. But it’ll be delicious anyway.