How did vodka sauce become the go-to condiment for quarantiners?
Gigi Hadid loves it and so do your favorite TikTokers, and it’s pretty official: vodka sauce is the newest quarantine food trend. Millennials and Genz-ers have been spending a lot of time in their quarantine kitchens making vodka sauce from scratch to use it in their pastas and oher numbers. It may have kicked off a few weeks ago when Gigi shared her recipe for vodka sauce on Instagram and people began using the sauce in many of their dishes.
Besides making the sauce a lot punchier sans the alcoholic bite, the vodka sauce also adds a smoother coating to the pasta. Alcohol also bonds water and fats, making it easier for them to work together and this leads to a way creamier sauce. Vodka is also a solvent for aromatic compounds, like the herbs or relish you’re using in your traditional pasta. The amount of vodka needs to be really balanced and it needs to be gradually introduced in the sauce in small quantities, to even out the wholesomeness.
Here’s a recipe for Penne Alle Vodka which uses a homemade vodka sauce:
3 tbsp. butter
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. vodka
1 lb. tubed pasta, such as penne or rigatoni
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Basil, for serving
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until paste has coated shallots and garlic and is beginning to darken, 5 minutes.
Add vodka to pot and stir to incorporate, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Turn off heat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water before draining.
Return sauce to medium heat and add 1/4 cup of pasta water and heavy cream, stirring to combine. Add half the Parmesan and stir until melted. Turn off heat and stir in cooked pasta. Fold in remaining
Parmesan, adding more pasta water (about a tablespoon at a time) if the sauce is looking dry. Season with salt if needed. Serve topped with more Parmesan and torn basil leaves.