A few weeks ago I received an email from RoseMarie at Marovato Italian Imports, she found my blog while looking for recipes for her family and wondered if I would be interested in trying some samples. I only had to spend a minute or two on their website to answer an enthusiastic ‘yes!’ to sampling their products. I live in a very rural area where it can be hard (i.e. impossible) to find specialty foods without driving a couple of hours to a larger city so it’s been a while since I’ve been able to cook with high-end, imported ingredients. The day the box of samples arrived I was basically like a little kid at Christmas ripping through bubble-wrap to see what kind of fun ingredients I’d get to experiment with. They import all of their products directly from Italy and have been selling them wholesale for years. Recently they’ve expanded the business and are able to sell products directly to consumers through their website, it’s a great way to find high-end ingredients, especially if you don’t live in an area with specialty grocery stores.
I’ve never made my own pasta noodles, but I’ve had handmade pasta at a few nice Italian restaurants and the orecchiette pasta from Marovato Italian Imports was every bit as good. The texture of the pasta was spot-on with a soft center and slightly chewy outer edges and the shape was perfect for holding this rich tomato sauce. The flavors in the tomato sauce are simple in a comforting way and the sauce goes together pretty quickly making this a perfect weeknight meal that still tastes indulgent.
Marovato Italian Imports has generously offered to send some pasta, tomato sauce, and a package of their amazing taralli cookies to one lucky reader! Just leave a comment on this post by June 11th and tell me about your favorite Italian dish then be sure to check out their page on Facebook!*
Pasta alla Vodka
- 16 oz. pasta
- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained with the liquid reserved (or 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes and 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes)
- 2 tbl. olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 1 tbl. tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup vodka (the cheap stuff is fine)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt to taste
- fresh basil and Parmesan to garnish
- Start your sauce by placing approximately half of the tomatoes in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add the pureed tomatoes and remaining diced tomatoes to a liquid measuring cup; add enough of the reserved tomato juice to equal about 2 cups.
- Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes then remove from heat and stir in the vodka. Return the pan to the heat and simmer until the alcohol is cooked off, about 8-10 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and save about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
- When the alcohol has cooked off from the tomato sauce, reduce the heat and add the cream. Cook just until the sauce is heated through. Salt to taste.
- Return the cooked pasta to the pot it was cooked in and add the tomato sauce. Stir until the pasta is evenly coated, if the sauce is too thick then slowly add a bit of the reserved pasta water. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
Adapted from The Curvy Carrot
*The giveaway is limited to readers in the US so that we can keep shipping costs reasonable. Marovato Italian Imports generously gave me some products to sample, but all the opinions in this post are my own.