I feel like this pasta with vodka sauce recipe only just about qualifies as a recipe because there's very little to it. It's super easy but the results are very, very good.
The concept of pasta with vodka sauce is a curious one. The idea of using vodka in a simple tomato-cream sauce is to release flavours from the tomatoes that are alcohol soluble. In other words, alcohol releases more flavour from the tomatoes. The result is a sweeter, more balanced sauce.
So the sauce, though called vodka sauce, doesn't taste particularly alcoholic. Recipes vary in how the vodka is cooked. Theoretically, the vodka should be well cooked to do its job. Honestly, I hardly cook it at all leaving just the slightest hint of vodka which I like.
Tomato passata works really well here but this is an ingredient which I know causes some confusion for American cooks. For information on making or substituting passata read what is passata. This will tell you all you need to know.
This pasta with vodka sauce recipe will serve 3-4 people.
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or thinly sliced
350ml/1½ cups of tomato passata (crushed tomatoes)
a handful of fresh basil leaves
300g/11oz/2½ cups of penne or any pasta you like. A small pasta works better than a long one like spaghetti
1 tablespoon of black peppercorns or ground black pepper
125ml/½ of cream
1 small measure of vodka (about 2 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan or hard vegetarian cheese
Add the passata and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the basil and cook gently for about 10 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, coarsly crush the peppercorns with the side of a large knife on a chopping board. I like to do it this way as it gives a nice coarse texture but grind the pepper in a pepper mill or cut right down on the amount if you don't like pepper as much as I do.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente and drain.
Add the cooked pasta, black pepper and the cream to the tomato sauce, tossing to coat. Finally, add the vodka, stir again and serve sprinkled with the cheese.
Find more easy pasta recipes