Love the deep rich flavor of this tomato sauce.
The key to the flavor is not only the vodka, but the time spent baking in the oven.
Of course the cream (or half & half) doesn't hurt either.
Pasta & Sausage in Boozy Creamy Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil, plus
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup vodka
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
14 oz pkg of smoked sausage (I use turkey)
3/4 pound penne pasta
2 tbsp fresh parsley
3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream or half & half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof skillet over medium heat, add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.
Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the skillet with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
Heat a drizzle or so of olive oil in a skillet. Cut sausage lengthwise and brown on both sides. Remove and cut into bite size pieces; reserve.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
Place the tomato mixture in a blender or use an immersion blender and puree/blend until desired consistency. Return to the pan.
Reheat the sauce, add cooked sausage, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley and enough cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed, and simmer for 10 minutes. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan.
Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh parsley on each plate.