Pasta with Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce

What’s better than being able to cook a great vodka cream sauce while trapped inside the house in a snowstorm?  Cooking a great vodka cream sauce while trapped inside the house in a snowstorm, with your sister. Two winters ago Collyn was visiting me and we had a huge snowstorm and couldn’t leave the house. We were craving comfort food and – amazingly – had everything in the fridge that we needed to make this. Even the half cup of Kettel One (which has never been put to such delicious use).  Eating pasta is always better when your sister is snuggled on the couch next to you with a bowl of her own.

PASTA WITH VODKA TOMATO CREAM SAUCE (adapted from the gorgeous Smitten Kitchen)
– 1 lb. good pasta (I used cavatelli for this which was so fun to eat)
– 3 garlic cloves, chopped
– 1 red onion, diced
– 2 tbsp butter
– 2 tbsp EVOO
– 1 8-oz can chunky crushed tomatoes
– 1/2 c. heavy cream
– 1/2 c. vodka
– couple leaves of basil, chiffonaded
– freshly grated parmesan

1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and EVOO over medium heat. When combined, add chopped garlic and saute until fragrant, approx. 90 seconds.

2. Add chopped red onion – I know people usually use white onions, but I actually like how the red onion sort of loses its color and gains a sweetness. You really want to make sure these are sauteed enough though…they’ll continue to soften as you cook, but make sure they’re pretty much already there before you start adding the other stuff.

3. Add the vodka, then cook it down, about 4-6 minutes.

4. Add the tomato sauce, then heavy cream. Use the correct amounts here – I’ve tried to use a little bit more of one thing, a little bit less of another, but that gives me some derivative of tomato soup, which I’ll leave to The Kitchen.

5. Turn the heat down to low and let this simmer while you make the pasta.

6. Salt the pasta water pretty heavily – this may be the only seasoning you need for this, which is pretty incredible. Cook the pasta.

7. Throw a bunch of freshly grated parmesan cheese and the chiffonaded basil into the sauce when pasta is about halfway cooked, then give it a good stir.

8. Drain the pasta, then add it to the saucepan with the sauce. Serve and top with a little more freshly grated parm. Sistas.  <3

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