Sunday, October 31, 2010

Penne a la Vodka

Lately, I’ve been craving pasta, so I thought I’d try to make one of my husband's favorites that has now become one of my favorites – Penne a la Vodka.  He loved ordering this from Fresh Basil when he was working late nights at his old job.  I used Giada’s recipe, but added diced jalapenos for an extra kick.  I originally wanted to add spicy Italian sausage as well, but my local supermarket didn’t have any so I settled for turkey sausage to get some protein in the dish. 

This may sound dumb, and though I realize it’s called Penne a la Vodka…did anyone know the sauce really contains vodka???  I definitely did not.  I don’t have any vodka on hand, so I had to pick some up from the liquor store.  I bought one of those small 8oz. vodka bottles – made me feel like an alcoholic as I grabbed my brown paper bagged bottle of vodka and stuffed it into my purse.

Time to get cooking!  The base of the vodka sauce is a simple marinara sauce – Giada’s recipe mentions you can use store bought sauce which is what I would normally do; however this time, I figured if I’m going to try to make homemade vodka sauce, I might as well make it from start to finish.  Otherwise, I’m most definitely all about shortcuts that save me time.  Less time cooking equals more time eating! 

This dish is fairly easy to make and doesn’t take too long.  One thing that tripped me up was the simmering of the vodka in the tomato sauce – 20 minutes was not enough to reduce the sauce.  I sampled after 20 and 30 minutes, yet it still had a strong taste of vodka.  I ended up simmering for almost 40 minutes to burn off the excess vodka.  After that, the rest of the recipe was straightforward.  We ended up with delicious homemade Penne a la Vodka!

Sauteing the veggies for the sauce

I cooked. I ate. I had food coma.

I’m just your average 25-year-old woman living in New York City who happens to have an obsession with all things related to delicious food.  I have a humongous sweet tooth that I have failed to tame, but I try to counterbalance my sweet indulgences with some gut busting workouts at the gym a few times a week.  I am by no means a chef, but I love to cook (and eat)!

Most of the recipes I attempt are fairly simple for the everyman with ingredients that are easy to get your hands on and a cook time that won’t consume your entire day.  I have two reasons for this:

1)  More cooking time = less eating time.  Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy cooking.   Ever since I was a little girl, the reason I cooked something was so I could eat it. The thing is, the more time I spend cooking means I have less time doing something I like more…eating, one of the main drivers of my cooking exploits.

2)  Cooking ain’t cheap in the Big Apple.  I would love to try out recipes with a long list of extravagant ingredients, but that would take a big toll on my modest bank account.   I always find myself scanning recipes and immediately crossing off options that have ingredients that are pricey or difficult to find.  Simple and inexpensive are key.

Sharing is caring, so of course I love to cook for my family and friends - especially my husband.  We both love trying new restaurants around the city, but there's something to be said about a nice home cooked meal prepared by my loving hand (very cheesy I know).  

As for the title of this post - people who know me well would understand, I'm known for eating a lot and passing out from food coma shortly after.  I'm not a glutton by any means (though it may sound like it), but when something tastes so good, sometimes I can't resist!

Come join me on my food adventures and feel free to share any comments or suggestions!