This is the first post in a while because our furnace was broken this week and we were staying in just one room with a space heater!  We ate leftovers and pizza all week.  So to celebrate the return of our heat, I made this pasta sauce from scratch.  It definitely takes a while, but there is actually very little work involved.  You mostly just wait on the ingredients to simmer into saucy goodness.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis 

 First, you need to make Mariana sauce (or buy it):
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

Next, turn it into vodka sauce (you will have several cups of the above sauce left over.  I froze mine for next time.
  • 1 quart Simple Tomato Sauce
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound penne
Simmer the tomato sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir the cream into the tomato and vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended.

Finally, if you are going to spend over two hours making sauce, PLEASE don't put powdered, processed "parmesan" on top of your creation!  This calls for freshly grated cheese.  I love this little gadget I got for about ten bucks on Amazon:

9/26/2012 06:27:23 pm

It is great idea. Normally, I'd use white wine in a pasta sauce rather than vodka, and that's also scrumptious.Nice blog


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