Vodka Sauce

My weekend “relaxing at home” usually consists of turning on Food Network or the Cooking Channel and writing up my weekly menu plan and playing in my kitchen cooking up some recipe on my mind.

This particular weekend I was watching the Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten (who by the way has provided so much inspiration to me, as a woman who started out working at the White House on the nuclear energy policy, decided one day she was going to quit her job and do something so completely opposite and open a specialty food store – and she became crazy successful!). This episode Ina had a guest chef who was sharing a recipe from his restaurant.  Apparently the recipe was one which the owners of the restaurant was able to learn from a chef on a trip to Italy. So this is an authentic dish from Italy!   

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

    In and oven safe pot (I used my brand new Le Cruset cast iron dutch oven) Over medium heat saute the onion in the olive oil until it becomes translucent, add the garlic and sautee until the onion becomes a little carmelized. (Don’t burn the onion or garlic otherwise you will get a very bitter flavor in your sauce).

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    Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute.  Then add the vodka and allow it to reduce a little.  Now you want to add the tomatoes, crush each whole tomato in your hand before you add it to the pan, then add the liquid and stir. Add salt and pepper. I would add at least 1/2 tablespoon of salt, the tomatoes are not very salty.

    Cover the pot and place in the oven for for 1 1/2 hours.

    Remove the sauce from the oven and cool.  At this point you can place the sauce in a jar and put it in the fridge and finish for another day. Or cool it enough to place the sauce in a blender and puree.

    Next put the sauce back in the pan and add resh oregano, heavy cream and some more salt and pepper. Cook aout 10 minutes.

    Serve over pasta with grated parmesan cheese. (pictured here with my Meatballs)

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