Vodka Cream Sauce, an Oldie but Goody / by Alice Zhao

I'd like to dedicate this post to our dear friend BW. This vodka cream sauce recipe brings me back to the good old days (and a little tear to my eye!) when the three of us first formed our tiny little catering company so many years ago. The company is now long gone, but this recipe still remains. B made this several times for several events and was nice enough to pass on the recipe to me. (though I have an irking feeling this originally came from RR... gasp!) This original recipe uses penne rigate but we only had spaghetti in our pantry this week.
Vodka Cream Sauce recipe(J's Remix):

2 cloves of garlic
3 shallots
1/2 medium onion
3 oz vodka
5 ripen medium tomatoes or 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 bunch basil leaves
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsb olive oil
salt and pepper
Parmigiano Reggiano
red pepper flakes (optional)

  • Mince the garlic and shallots and medium dice the onion and the tomatoes.
  • In a deep pan sauce pan, heat the oil and garlic/shallots/onion on medium heat. Low heat will prevent the garlic from burning. Cook until the onions are translucent. You can add the pepper flakes if you want some spiciness.
  • Add the vodka to pan. Be careful since the vodka can flame up in the pan. You can turn the heat off first before adding the vodka.
  • Next add the chicken stock, diced tomato and any tomato juice leftover. To boost more flavor into your sauce, you can add chicken bouillon cubes.
  • Take half of the basil leaves and chiffonade the leaves, then add it to the sauce
  • If you have leftover Parmesan rinds leftover, you can throw it into the sauce to give it more body
  • Simmer the sauce until it is reduced by 1/2
  • Add the cream
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chiffonade basil is added at the end prior to serving.

Tip: Fresh parmesan cheese is key. We recommend that you grate the whole fresh parmesan reggiano wedge and freeze what you don't use for later. Otherwise, when you keep it for a while in your fridge, you end up grating hardened old parmesan cheese (and it's just not the same!)