First of all, it is one that reminds me of my childhood. My mom used to make this frequently, and whenever I taste it, I am teleported back to my hometown, sitting in the kitchen of the house I grew up in, eating with my parents and brothers. Though it tastes pretty good when I make it, it's nothing like hers.
This is also one of the very first things my mom taught me to make. I never, EVER cooked before I was married, and it was a huge joke that my husband would have to learn how to love Kraft Mac and Cheese. I honestly could not cook more than that when we got married just over five years ago. My mom very patiently would stand with me in the kitchen every couple of weeks, teaching me a new staple. Those moments are without a doubt what fueled my own, albeit newfound, love of cooking.
This sauce also happens to be the source of one of my biggest almost-mistakes. After having learned how to make this, I was super excited to "entertain" for the first time - my cousin Cheryl and her husband John, also newlyweds. I had my already-splattered recipe on the counter, written in my mom's perfect handwriting, and I had gone shopping for the necessary ingredients earlier that day. I was SO thrilled to be doing this on my own!
However, as I was peeling and chopping garlic, I realized that the process was taking forever. I really didn't remember peeling and chopping for THIS long! I checked out the recipe and it said, sure enough, that I needed 4-6 cloves of garlic. Well, if I counted correctly, how did I end up with a counter FULL of peeled garlic?
Well, I will tell you. This garlic overabundance occurred because yours truly did not know the difference between a CLOVE of garlic and a HEAD. Thank goodness I made a couple of emergency calls before actually cooking all of that!
Anyway, I should stop rambling and get to the food... but before I do: Thank you, Mom. For this, and so much more. I love you!
Okay. The sauce. This time I used half-and-half rather than cream, and that gave it a thin and grainy consistency. But really, the appearance was all that was affected, and that's worth a few saved calories, don't you think?
I doubled this recipe the other night, and ended up with ten two-cup servings which are now hanging out in my freezer!
- 1 stick butter
- 2/3 cup vodka
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2-2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 quart light cream
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
Melt butter in sauce pan. Add vodka and cook until alcohol evaporates.
Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent, and then add seasoning and pepper flakes.
Add both cans of tomatoes and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
Slowly add the cream while stirring, and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the cheese and stir well.
Serve over penne; freeze any leftover sauce.