Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pappardelle with Vodka Sauce and Italian Sausage

I love pasta sauces that use ingredients I always seem to have on hand. A can of tomatoes, Italian sausage, cream, parmesan cheese and vodka- yes, I always have these items on hand! It's fun and easy to throw them together into a yummy sauce that satisfies the age old question- tomato or cream sauce? Well, vodka sauce is both! It's a hearty tomato sauce with a gentle kick from the vodka, tang from the Parmesan cheese and a mellow softness from the fresh cream. Adding good sausage really bulks up this sauce, and tossing it with a thick and silky noodle such as pappardelle really transforms it from a college kitchen to a chef's kitchen's dish. Next time you're in the mood for an Italian dish this one is definitely worth a try!

 Pappardelle with Vodka Sauce and Italian Sausage
A hearty and flavorful creamy tomato sauce that tastes great on all pasta!
Serves 3

1/2 pound Pappardelle pasta, or any other pasta
1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T olive oil
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 T. tomato paste
1/4 cup vodka
1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, rosemary and oregano (optional)
1/2 tsp sugar
Kosher salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes, then push to side and add ground sausage to middle of pan. Cook for 4 minutes then mix with the onion. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes until the sausage is cooked through. Stir in the tomato paste until combined. Reduce heat to medium-low then add the crushed tomatoes, the sugar, and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir in the oregano and rosemary (if using), Parmesan cheese and vodka. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. When it's almost finished cooking remove a 1/4 cup of pasta water from the pot and add it to the pasta sauce. This will thin it out a bit.

Stir the cream into the sauce. Add the fresh parsley and basil, if using.

Drain the pasta, then add it into the sauce skillet. Toss well to coat. Top with extra cheese and serve hot.

Recipe by Sarah Saubert


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