Monday, August 26, 2013

Penne a la Vodka... and no pictures.

Yes, I am aware I am the worst food blogger in the world.  I'm working on it.

Somewhere along the line, food blogs turned from places to share words and recipes that your family and friends have loved and really lived while enjoying, to a place where the photos have to be taken with DSLR's in just the right light, with the perfect background and props, and then expertly edited for hours in photoshop for your blog to be worth anything.

Well, I'm a rebel.

There will be times - and yes today is one of them - where you won't see a single picture on this blog.  Nope.  Not a one.  And do you know what I've decided?

No pictures is a-okay.

I've been making Penne a la Vodka since Rachael Ray told me it was the only recipe that was scientifically proven to get me a husband.  (Was that her vodka sauce recipe?  Or was it some other chicken nonsense that I'm getting confused in my head?  Either way.)  To be fair, she wasn't exactly wrong - my boyfriend does love my cooking.  Yes.  Boyfriend.  Not husband.  I know.  I'm working on him.  :)

Okay, so let's get to it - here's what I do!  I start tomato sauce off the same way no matter what kind of sauce I'm making - marinara, vodka, or otherwise.

1.  Heat up a small glug of olive oil and about a tablespoon of butter in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  (Why yes, I am singing "Fat Bottomed Girls" in my head.  If you are too, you are invited to stay and be my friend).
2.  While the oil/butter mixture is heating up, dice 1 onion.  If you do not know how to do this without dicing your fingers along with it, I suggest you YouTube that shit.  Seriously, save the fingers.
3.  Once the oil is rippling slightly, drop in the onions and shake in (like a polaroid picture) some salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Sometimes I rub the Italian seasoning in between my palms before I put it in the pot just to release some of the oils.  Sometimes I am lazy and I don't.
4.  Stir to combine and let saute for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent but right before they get browned on the edges.
5.  Add about half a tablespoon of garlic (or more if you like it garlicky).  If you use the pre-chopped kind out of a jar, I will not tell the tomato sauce police on you, I promise.  And use Polaner, it's by far the best.  :)
6.  Let the garlic cook for about a minute - trust me, you DO NOT want your garlic to burn because that is the bitterest shit you will ever taste.  Yes, I just made bitterest a word.  Trust me.  Don't burn it.
7.  Here comes the vodka!  Pull the pan off the flame and add enough vodka to really cover the bottom of the pan - I'm talking like 2 to 3 turns of the pan depending on how large your pan is.  Once you have put the pan back on the heat, STEP BACK.  Do not breathe in the vodka fumes because they smell something awful.  It's like drinking vodka through your nose and that is not fun.
8.  Let the vodka reduce until there's only a tiny bit of liquid left.  Then add one can of crushed tomatoes and one can of diced tomatoes and stir.  I like a chunky tomato sauce, but if you like it pureed please feel free to use two cans of crushed tomatoes (or boat motor the hell of out of your sauce once you're done... immersion blenders = the shit).
8.  Let simmer for at least 30 minutes, but longer is better.
9.  Taste it!  If it's too acidic, add some sugar - start with a tablespoon and go from there.  If it needs more salt and pepper, put some in.  If it sorta tastes like nothing and you're thoroughly confused, throw in a chicken bouillon cube.  I know it sounds ridiculous but I swear by that shit (especially for chicken cacciatore, hello yum).
10.  Boil your pasta!
11.  When your pasta is about 2 minutes from being cooked, pour in one of those little baby containers of heavy cream.  If you like your sauce creamier and less tomato-y, add more cream.  I swear, you guys, cooking is not an exact science.
12.  Taste again!  Make adjustments as needed.
13.  Drain pasta, put back in hot pot, and add some sauce.  Stir vigorously.  However, I will call the tomato sauce police on you if you rinse your pasta with water before you do this.  Don't. Ever. Rinse. Pasta.
14. Dump into a family style serving bowl, ladle up some sauce on the side, and serve with some crusty bread and some parmesan cheese.

Straight up, that is the end.  It's a couple steps, but I promise you it's so easy an Italian cavewoman probably painted it on a rock wall a million years ago.  For real.

If you make this recipe, please send me a picture as I am clearly photographically challenged.  And comment.  And be my friend.

What do you guys think of me YouTubing some cooking?  Hmm.  I wouldn't have to worry about taking pictures. :)


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