About 4 months ago, Ken and I spent 10 days in New Orleans for a vacation/work conference. After the first few days of exploring antique shops and restaurants in the French Quarter and the Warehouse District, I relaxed in our hotel and watched about 8 1/2 consecutive hours of Food network.
Between meeting Ken for lunch and going out for dinner, I watched an old Ina Garten episode that featured a vodka sauce recipe. I wanted to try it as soon as we got home. The original recipe called for cream, which I substituted with Tofutti sour cream. However, if you have a cashew cream or even some leftover pine nut cream from my previous post it would be even better. I’ve also made it without the cream entirely and it’s still extremely delicious.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp of dried basil
- 3/4 cup vodka
- 2 28 oz cans of peeled tomatoes, with 1/2 cup juice reserved
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3/4 cup Tofutti sour cream/cashew cream (optional)
1. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat and preheat oven to 375°F. Add a generous amount of olive oil, the onions and garlic. Saute for about 4-5 minutes, then add dried basil, salt and pepper. Cook for another minute or so-adding the basil now infuses the flavor into the oil. Tip: Don’t walk away to grab your camera, because you’ll probably end up with burnt garlic (see bottom of picture for example.)
2. Add 3/4 cup vodka and allow mixture to reduce by about half.
3. Drain the two cans of tomatoes and crush whole tomatoes between fingers into the pan. Please wash your hands first. I like to save the tomato juice from the cans to add to soup or other sauces later. Add 1/2 cup of reserved juice to pan, then cover pan with a tight lid and place in oven for 1 1/2 hours.
4. When the tomatoes are done roasting, remove pan from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender (or whatever type you have) puree until smooth.
5. Add cream, if using, and torn fresh basil leaves. Reheat sauce and add cooked pasta. Serve with something light, like Bell’s Third Coast Beer.