quick and easy tomato vodka sauce.

You know when you are the on the exact same page with someone regarding a particular topic? When you both just intrinsically know what the other is going to say about (fill in the blank here)? Well, I happen to have one of those people at work. One the physicians I work with refers to me as his “food wife”, as we are always, 100 percent on the same page regarding food/restaurants/dishes/cocktails. My job requires regular dinner meetings every few months, and once a restaurant is chosen, he and I can be counted on for scouring the menu and deciding on what looks most pleasing. We both usually lean toward more eclectic dishes.

I told him since I love to cook, I like to reserve dining out for dishes and dining experiences that I cannot easily replicate at home (I’m looking at you, favorite German sausage shop!). He agreed, and said “yes, like Italian!”. I remember whipping around in the hallway and saying “no way! That’s exactly what I say about Italian restaurants!”. Now, nothing against the many amazing Italian restaurants out there, but my palate tends to crave spicy flavors from Asia, South America, Africa. When I DO get a craving for Italian food, the recipe below always hits the spot. Easy, spicy vodka sauce that can made on a weeknight with ease.

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This is after the tomatoes have cooked down a bit, but before the addition of the cream. I left my sauce fairly chunky and ‘rustic’, but you could process the tomatoes to make a smoother sauce. 

Vodka sauce was not something I ever ate growing up. My mom used to make skillet lasagna, and chicken and veal parmesan were regulars. I first had “vodka pasta” with my ex-boyfriend, who made it on the regular for his kids. And oh boy, is it delicious! I could see why they absolutely loved it and leftovers were nearly non-exisistent. I make it a little differently than the original recipe, which called for adding the pasta prior to the vodka and cream and then mixing it all together.

I hope you try this out the next time you’re craving “pink sauce”!

easy tomato vodka sauce.
inspired by K’s penne with vodka and spicy tomato cream sauce.

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ingredients

1/2 small onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
28 oz can whole roma or plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
3/4 cup heavy cream (can sub half and half)
3 tbsp. vodka
1/4 cup olive oil
fresh basil or parsley if desired for garnish
salt and pepper

directions

In a large deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook garlic, onions, crushed red pepper and salt over medium heat until onions are translucent and garlic is golden but not brown, about 3 minutes.

Add vodka, being careful to stand back in case the alcohol flames. Let cook for about a minute to allow the  alcohol to cook out.

Add tomatoes, oregano and basil. Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, gently mash the tomatoes until roughly crushed (alternatively, you can crush tomatoes in a food processor prior to adding them to the skillet). Stir to blend all together, and let simmer until sauce begins to thicken, about 15 mintues. Reduce heat to low and add in cream. Stir and let it simmer over low heat for an additional 5 minutes. If using, add in fresh basil and parsley. Serve over your favorite tubular pasta or over roasted spaghetti squash (like I did tonight)!

Serves 4-6.

**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible**

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