Now, I’ll admit right off the bat that I think this recipe still needs a bit of tweaking. Bo and I thought it was just too acidic tasting and could use a bit more body. I’m thinking that really cooking some tomato paste with the onions might help a little bit, but I haven’t tried yet, and I’m guessing it’ll need something else too in order to perfect this.
After saying that though, we both cleared our plates.
So, it’s not a horrible start. I figured I should throw up my working recipe for now, then just update with any future tweaks that I figure out.
I made my own pasta again, because I just love it. Here’s the recipe for the dough again: Semolina Egg Pasta
I cut it into fettuccine, though most often you’ll hear this called penne à la vodka. I just don’t have the attachment to make penne yet for the mixer.
As an aside, when you make pasta like this (spaghetti, fettuccine, etc), and like me you don’t have that cool little drying rack for pasta, just loosely lay it out on your counter. I would go back to it about every 15 minutes and give it a light toss with my hands, just to make sure it wasn’t all sticking together.
Once it’s dried to the point where pieces won’t glue to each other, separate the pasta into serving sized nests. My recipe yields about 5 good sized portions.
On to the actual recipe. Gather everything together that you need: 4 servings of pasta, olive oil, salt, vodka, pepper, heavy cream, a can of crushed tomatoes, freshly chopped parsley and basil, crushed red pepper flakes (optional), large diced pancetta, Italian sausage (sans casing), minced garlic and diced onion. Phew.
Throw your pancetta into a large skillet and cook until nice and crispy, then remove to a bowl but leave the fat in the pan.
Add the onion to the pan with the pancetta fat and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
Add the sausage to the pan and cook, breaking apart, until well browned, about 5 minutes.
Guess what was going on while I was cooking the sausage. A whole bunch of “Mommy, yummm!”. My error was thinking he was just talking about dinner in general and not turning around to actually look. It turns out that he was eating all of the cooked pancetta. Ok, maybe not all of it, but we’re talking at least 30%.
He also mixed together all my herbs and topped the crushed tomatoes with a generous handful of them. So much for garnishing at the end.
Alright, now that the sausage is well browned, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Now you stir in the crushed tomatoes and some salt and give it all a good stir. I had to add a bunch of herbs here too, but I would recommend holding off a bit. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Now’s a good time to get your water boiling and your pasta cooking. Though it really doesn’t look like it was in this picture, lol. Fresh pasta cooks really, really quickly. Like, 2 minutes fast.
Add the vodka, cream and reserved pancetta and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper if you think it needs it
Reduce the heat and add the pasta.
Give it all a good toss, add in the parsley and basil and serve.
Little closer maybe?
Once again, not terrible at all, just a little acidic still. Try it out yourself and let me know what you think.
Here’s the printable:
Creamy Pasta à la Vodka
- 6 (¼" thick) slices of pancetta, cut into cubes
- 4 servings of pasta (penne or fettuccine)
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup vodka
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup chopped basil
- 4 links of Italian sausage, casings removed
- Get a large pot of water simmering to cook your pasta in later.
- Cook the pancetta in a large skillet over med-high heat until well browned and crispy. Remove to a plate, leaving fat in the pan.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan and cook, breaking apart, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using), and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and ½ tsp of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Get your pasta cooking, and be sure to reserve ½ cup of the pasta water before draining in case your sauce needs to be thinned out a little bit.
- Add the vodka, cream and reserved pancetta, parsley and basil and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper if required. Reduce the heat to low and add the cooked pasta. Toss together for 1 minute and serve.
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