Vodka turns this simple pasta dish into a special one. The alcohol marries all the ingredients together. Bringing out the brightness of the tomatoes and the richness of the cream. A must-do weeknight dinner.
You don’t taste the vodka here. It brings all the elements of the dish together.
Your pasta water should be as salty as the sea. I recommend seasoning the sauce after this is added to avoid it being too salty.
I always recommend adding a bit of butter and parmesan to your pasta sauce. It’s pasta. Live a little!
You want to cook the pasta till it’s a done little before your liking. The pasta finishes cooking in the sauce for maximum absorption.
If you need any help, or have any questions, you can message me on my Instagram @bonniedoesfood. This is also available as a highlight to watch me do it.
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 sprig of basil
1 tbsp Tomato purée
3-4 tbsp vodka, I counted 1-2-3 whilst pouring
2 tins whole tomatoes
180g double cream
Salt and pepper to taste
20g Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to top
400g pasta, penne works well
Salt and Pepper to taste
FOR THE SAUCE:
In a medium to large sized saucepan, add your olive oil, garlic and basil. On a low heat, gently infuse the oil until the garlic begins to sizzle. Once sizzling, cook for a further minute.
Add the tomato puree, turn the heat up to medium, cook for about 2 minutes. Until the tomato puree begins to darken a little and some fond (crusty bits) have formed on the bottom of the pan.
Deglaze with the vodka. Stir and scrape the fond off the bottom of the pan and into the sauce. Cook until the harsh alcohol smell has faded, and the vodka has reduced.
Tip in the whole tomatoes. You can crush these beforehand in a bowl, or I like to use either the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to smush them down.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and bring to a steady simmer.
Cook for about 20-30 minutes. Until very thick and reduced.
FOR THE PASTA:
Whilst the sauce is reducing, put a large pan of heavily salted water onto boil.
When the sauce is about 5 minutes from being reduced, add the pasta to the pot of water and cook until nearly done to your liking. Ideally just at al-dente!
Don’t drain the pasta. We will spoon it directly into the sauce.
FOR THE SAUCE:
Warm the cream gently in the microwave. You don’t want it to be hot, just lukewarm to the touch so it’s not fridge cold, otherwise it will split in the sauce.
Remove the sprig of basil. It’s ok if a couple of leaves remain.
Add the warm cream to the tomatoes. Stir until combined.
Add the butter and parmesan. Stir thoroughly until emulsified.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked pasta into the sauce, its ok if some of the water goes with it. We want some pasta water in the sauce.
Once transferred, add a ladle of pasta cooking water. You want the sauce to be a little thinner than you’d like as we will reduce it further.
At this point check for seasoning, your pasta water should be salty, so it may not need more salt. It’s ok if it does though! Add some more at this stage. Finish with a few grinds of freshly cracked pepper.
Cook for another 2 minutes on a medium heat, until the sauce has thickened and is clinging to the pasta.
Serve with another grating of parmesan, some freshly cracked pepper and some chopped basil or parsley, if you like. Enjoy!