Pasta alla vodka / Spaghetti in Vodka Cream Sauce for Two – Valentine Special Recipe Series
There’s something fancy about adding alcohol to food. Be it the drama of the flambé, where you add a liquor to the pan and then set it alight with a match so it burns with a flourish, burning off some of the alcohol content in the liquor. Only some, mind you, not all.
I read an interesting article which included a table on what percentage of alcohol is evaporated in various cooking processes. Flambéing retains 75% of the alcohol while losing 25%. Stirring into a dish and simmering for 1 hour allows 75% of the alcohol to evaporate and simmering/baking for 2 and a half hours causes around 95% of the alcohol to evaporate.
In our vodka sauce for pasta, we don’t want to commit the crime of allowing all that alcohol content to escape into thin air. I can’t be calling this a boozy recipe for nothing.
Adding vodka to the sauce and allowing to simmer for around 5 minutes allows the sauce to develop a robust flavour because alcohol readily absorbs the flavour nuances of the aromatics in the best possible way. It is this very reason why a sherry or wine is used to deglaze a pan, where all the browned food stuck to the bottom of the pan dissolves into the alcohol, carrying with it an intensely delicious flavour.
Adding a good splash of vodka to your pasta sauce makes it wickedly adult like and you can tell your kids, “Back off, this is adults’ pasta!”. Like I said, boozy recipes are my favourite bet for Valentine’s, so do embark on this drunken sauce adventure. It is going to be fun!
I often use a secret ingredient while making tomato sauce for pasta and I have used it in this too. Jump over to the recipe to know more!
Pasta in Vodka Sauce | Pasta alla vodka
- 225 grams Spaghetti or half a 1 lb packets
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 6 tomatoes Ripe
- 1 Red bell pepper
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 3 - 4 tbsps Onions finely chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup vodka Unflavoured
- 1/4 cup Cream
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper Ground
- 1/2 tsp basil Dried
- 5 - 6 Basil leaves
- 2 tbsps walnuts Toasted chopped
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- In a large pot of water with 1 tbsp salt, cook the spaghetti as per instructions on pack. Do not overcook the pasta.
- Score the tomatoes lightly with a sharp knife. Cut the bell pepper into 4 large pieces avoiding the seeds.
- In a microwave safe bowl, place the tomatoes and bell peppers with 1/4 cup water. Cover with a microwave proof lid and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Once cooled, peel off skins of the tomatoes and bell peppers. Using the liquid in the bowl, blend this to a puree in a blender/mixer. Keep aside.
- In a saucepan, heat the butter. Sautxe9 the finely chopped onions and garlic for 4-5 minutes until soft. At this point, lower the flame, add the vodka. It will start sizzling and then settle to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes, after which you can add the prepared tomato -red bell pepper puree.
- Bring this to a simmer. After 4-5 minutes, add the cream, mix well on a low flame. Season with salt, pepper and dried basil. Allow this to come to a gentle simmer.
- By this time, the spaghetti will be ready. Using pasta tongs, remove the spaghetti from the pot, drain (do not wash the cooked spaghetti) and add directly to the sauce, tossing well to coat.
- Divide the pasta in two warmed dishes, garnish with fresh basil and chopped walnuts. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over the pasta and it's ready to serve.