To say we love pasta is an understatement. It is more my sons favorite. I prefer the Mediterranean diet, and my husbands favorite is Mexican, and Savanah's is Italian as well. Whoa, and to think my husband is Cuban and that is still not his favorite ethnic style food. But this one is wonderful. We had seen a vodka sauce on TV and thought we would try it, so we did. Nine out of ten of them called for heavy cream so we substituted with our non-dairy milk. This one we snagged from Food Network and from Giada. So try this one and see.
1 quart simple sauce (recipe to follow)
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream (almond or rice milk will do)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese(we did not use)
1 pound penne
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 heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling 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.
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
4-6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 T unsalted butter, optional (we did not use this)
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 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 T 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 1-2 cup portions into a plastic freezer bags. Freeze for up to 6 months. Makes 6 cups Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes