Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Vodka sauce

(If anyone reads my blog regularly, I apologize for the dearth of posts. There are a few reasons for this: 1) I haven't taken photos of anything I've eaten recently; 2) I haven't eaten anything recently that would make a good post without pix; 3) I've been spending a lot of time sending out resumes.)

For Hanukkah last year, a coworker bought me a gift that combines two of my loves: food and Jewish men. Enter Young and Hungry, a book by twenty-something foodmeister Dave Lieberman. Lieberman is mainly known from work on the Food Network, and I am hesitant to buy a cookbook written by anyone deemed a celebrity chef. In this case, though I didn't have to buy the cookbook, so there was no guilt involved.

When I buy or receive a new cookbook, I read the entire book and place a sticky tab on each page that contains a recipe I like. This makes it easy to find recipes I know I'll like, thus preventing me from having to reread the book or go to the index unnecessarily. All my cookbooks have little yellow or blue flags popping out from the sides, but that's okay; it gives them character.

To be honest, I've only made one recipe from Young and Hungry: vodka sauce. Vodka sauce is one of those sauces that brings out my inner canine, making me lick plates and bowls clean. There's something about tomatoes and cream that hits me just right, and this sauce goes well w/everything--bread, pasta, chicken, ice cream, drywall. Seriously, it's that good. Just as good is that this recipe is easy as can be, meaning you can have a pot of vodka sauce ready in 15 minutes. So, go out and buy some heavy whipping cream, 'cause your tastebuds and arteries both deserve some excitement.

Vodka Sauce (serves 2, but this recipe multiples well, so I make at least 4x the recipe)

2 tbsp. EVOO
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 c. canned tomato puree (or diced, if you like it chunky)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (which I didn't use)
1/4 c. vodka
A couple big pinches of basil (and more for garnish)
1/2 c. heavy cream

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Press garlic in pan and cook until it starts to sizzle and you can smell it--about 30 seconds. Make sure it doesn't turn brown.

Add the tomato puree and the red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Stir in the vodka and cook until you can't smell the vodka anymore--about 4 minutes. Stir in the basil and cook a few minutes more.

Pour in the cream, bring to a simmer, and simmer until the sauce is a rosy pink and is slightly thickened--about 5 minutes.

Serve with pasta, chicken, drywall--you can't go wrong.

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