Grossy's Vodka Sawce
The process of making vodka sawce is one of the most visually exciting experiences I've had with cooking. I've been making a recipe that my talented friend Chris shared with me a long time ago, and it’s completely flawless. It's been the most popular of all my pasta sauce recipes, and for good reason. Not only is it inappropriately thick (same) and illegally glossy (also same), but it tastes how comfort feels. Call an ambulance honey, just in case you can’t handle it!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, grated
Red pepper flakes (optional)
6 tablespoons tomato paste
1-pint (two cups) heavy cream*
6 tablespoons vodka**
1 lb. rigatoni or other pasta***
grated parmesan or pecorino
*Cashew cream or coconut milk are great substitutions for the heavy cream.
**If you want to make vodka sawce without vodka, I do not recommend a substitute. We are making VODKA sawce honey! This recipe, made without vodka (skip that step), makes a delish tomato cream sauce. No substitute for vodka needed!
***If you are using gluten-free pasta, add 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch to the 1 cups of pasta water you reserve. This will give you pasta water the starch it needs to make your sawce thick and glossy.
WHAT YOU'LL DO:
Over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter, red pepper flakes (optional) and 8 tablespoons olive oil together in a saucepan. Add grated garlic and 6 tablespoons tomato paste. Whisk until fragrant.
At the same time, boil pasta in salty water.
Whisk 2 cups heavy cream into sauce for 5-6 minutes until darkened. Add 6 tablespoons vodka and whisk another 5-6 minutes, until alcohol is cooked out.
Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Add ½ cup pasta water to the sawce and whisk until inappropriately thick, adding more pasta water to loosen if necessary. Sauce may take up to 20 minutes to get thick enough, and it is absolutely worth the wait.
Add pasta to sauce and stir until coated and glossy.
Serve with grated parmesan or pecorino.
Vodka sawce is not the easiest to reheat, so, two things:
Save that other ½ cup pasta water for leftover reheating. When the time comes, put your leftover sauced pasta in a pan, add a little pasta water and bring it back to life over heat. The pasta water will bring it all back together because it will separate!
If you are planning to eat less than a full pound of pasta and sauce (IDK who you are but okay), halve the recipe or make the full sawce recipe, put half of the sawce in a container, and only cook a ½ lb of pasta. When you're ready for your next meal, reheat the leftover sauce in a pan with a little pasta water and add freshly cooked pasta for your second meal.
If you want to add meat or fish to your pasta, I recommend cooking the meat or fish separately and serving it alongside or on top of the pasta. Do not cook the meat into the sauce.
If you want to add vegetables to your pasta, I recommend cooking vegetables separately and serving it alongside or on top of the pasta. Do not cook the vegetables into the sauce.
If you want to use the sawce on something other than pasta... follow the recipe all the way until the step where you add the pasta water. Since you do not have pasta water, add a teaspoon or so (taste it!) of kosher salt to make up for the salt in the pasta water. This will finish off the sawce and you are ready to use it! I love to use this version of the sawce on Grossy's Chicken Parm, Grossy's Eggplant Parmesan or Bimpy's Pizza.
Make it step-by-step with me below!
1. Add 8 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter to pan.
2. Over medium heat, melt butter, red pepper flakes (optional) and olive oil together in a saucepan.
3. Grate 3 garlic cloves.
4. Measure out 6 tablespoons tomato paste.
5. Add grated garlic and tomato paste to pan. Whisk until fragrant.
6. At the same time, boil pasta in salty water.
This should smell amazing.
7. Measure out 2 cups heavy cream.
8. Add to pan.
9. Whisk cream into sauce for 5-6 minutes until darkened.
10. Add vodka and whisk another 5-6 minutes, until alcohol is cooked out.
Check on your pasta.
11. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
12. Drain pasta.
13. Add ½ cup pasta water to the sawce. Whisk sawce until inappropriately thicc, adding more pasta water to loosen if necessary. Sauce may take up to 20 minutes to get thick enough, and it is absolutely worth the wait.
14. Add pasta to sauce and stir until coated and glossy.
15. Sprinkle with grated parmesan or pecorino and extra red pepper flakes.
I do not add fresh herbs on top of my vodka sauce. I like it pure!