Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Rigatoni alla Vodka


Wouldn't life be easy if every night were pasta night? I mean, I wouldn't mind breaking up the routine with may be an enchilada night. I could definitely go for a pulled pork night on a more than regular basis. And I could throw in a Pie night every now and then. A night of Breakfast for Dinner would be fun. A naughty dinner of ice cream and snack food could be a night of blissful indulgence at the end of a hard day. Oh, and a meal of Chinese food is a must around here. And the boys would never let me forget it if we didn't have a burger night. And meatballs, can't leave out a meatball night. And a rib night, because we really need a pure man-food night seeing as how three quarters of the population in this house is male. And to make sure we are getting a balanced diet, it would only be right to have a vegetarian night.  And, oh yes, a chilli night for those chilly nights. But I could definitely eat pasta the rest of the time.

Rigatoni alla Vodka
from Lidia Matticchio Bastianich's Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen
Serves 4

2 x 400g Italian cherry tomatoes with their liquid
500g rigatoni
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled
Crushed chilli flakes
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil for finishing the sauce, if you like
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing if you like

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the bowl of a food processor. Using quick on/off pulses, process the tomatoes just until they are finely chopped. (Longer processing will aerate the tomatoes, turning them pink.)

Stir the rigatoni into the boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the hot oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Lower the work bowl with the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully — they will splatter — slide the tomatoes into the pan. Bring to a boil, season lightly with salt and generously with crushed red pepper, and boil 2 minutes. Pour in the vodka, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer, and simmer until the pasta is ready.

Just before the pasta is done, fish the garlic cloves out of the sauce and pour in the cream. Add the 2 tablespoons butter or oil, if using, and swirl the skillet to incorporate into the sauce. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, fish the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and drop it directly into the sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt and red pepper if necessary. Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta and boil until the sauce is reduced enough to cling to the pasta.

Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle 3/4 cup of the cheese over the pasta, and toss to mix. Serve immediately, passing additional cheese if you like.


  1. Too much to eat it hun? I could eat pasta too each day but there is so many to eat and try that I never do that. Ah la laaaaaa. Superb plate of pasta Jen :)

  2. Pasta is high on my list and If I did not have the cave man to cook for, pasta at least three times a week would suit me just fine. Love all Vodka sauce. Yours looks scrumptious.

  3. We had rigatoni last night too! But just with regular old marinara... I loooove this vodka sauce.

  4. Yes, too true Gabrielle. So many dishes, so little time.

  5. Thanks Patty. I'd have pasta ALL the time, as long as I could have everything else as well... I think you call that gluttony.

  6. Hi Jen

    Pasta is my absolute favourite food and this recipe sounds delicious. I could definitely eat pasta for every meal (although the carbs wouldn't reflect well on my figure).

    Do you ever make your own pasta from scratch? I never have but I would like to one day.

  7. Thanks Sam. This is a seriously delicious dish. If you're going to blow your carb allowance, this is the dish to splurge on. I run every day, and I think about the carb points I'm earning at least once while I'm running, that and if I left the iron on.

    Yes. Do it. Make your own pasta. You'll be amazed and proud of yourself. Here's a recipe for my Poor Man's Fresh Pasta Dough. It takes some time, but it's worth it and you'll have earned the carbs.