Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vodka Mushroom Sauce

I love vodka sauce.  It's such a simple creation: a seasoned puree of tomatoes spiked with vodka and luscious heavy cream.  A lot of times I find myself musing over the menu at an Italian restaurant, with so many exciting choices I sometimes can't help myself but to order this simple alternative.  Just a little penne tossed in pink sauce, nothing more, nothing less.  Sometimes you can add some meat to the dish, but it's not necessary.  Today I adapted a version of vodka sauce to include mushrooms and served it with penne and some meatballs my mom had made.  The sauce was wonderful, and my family couldn't stop raving.  It was so easy to make, I'd be crazy not to recreate this dish over and over again in the future.  I didn't want to overdo it with the heavy cream since I know I'd feel super guilty afterward, so this sauce isn't quite pink, but more of a less-dark-red :)  Whatever color, it tasted great, but you can always add more cream if you'd like!

Vodka Mushroom Sauce
Serves 6 to 8

1 lb sliced mushrooms
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 T. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vodka
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 T. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 lbs penne (or pasta of your choice), cooked al dente

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and cook until tender.  Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook a few minutes longer.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and vodka.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the heavy cream and cook for a couple minutes longer.  Season to taste.  Add the parsley right before serving.  Toss with cooked penne and garnish with a little extra finely chopped parsley if you'd like.  Serve immediately.


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