Mmmm…vodka. Wait, what? I thought this was a family blog! Don’t get your panties in a bundle, I’m not talking about drinking vodka straight up. Although you can do that if you want to. I’m talking about creamy, tomato-y, vodka pasta sauce. Where you can’t really taste the vodka, but you know that there’s something different in that sauce that makes you go hmm. (Does anyone else remember that song? Anyone?)
Anyway, back to this sauce. It’s super simple, doesn’t rely on fresh summer ingredients (bonus points in Wisconsin winters), and you can dress it up or down however you choose. I happened to choose gnocchi for this version, but you could also use your favorite penne, rigatoni, or other pasta. The important part is to use something with ridges that will capture every delicious morsel of this sauce.
Also, my food styling on this photograph needs work. I know. But we were hungry.
Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. dairy-free margarine
1/2 small onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree with no salt added
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 c. vodka
1 c. plain, unsweetened coconut milk
2 (18 oz.) packages gnocchi (check your labels for dairy free!)
Heat olive oil and margarine on medium-low heat in a large skillet. Saute onion and garlic until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add tomato puree, kosher salt, and Italian seasoning. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken. Take the pan off the heat, add the vodka and stir it into the tomato mixture, then place the pan back on the heat. Continue simmering for an additional 10-20 minutes, or until the flavors are melded and the sauce has thickened.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the gnocchi according to your package directions. When you put the gnocchi in the water, add the coconut milk to the tomato sauce and let it come back to temperature while the gnocchi boil. As the gnocchi float to the surface of the water, scoop them out with a slotted spoon or strainer and place them into the skillet with the sauce. Toss everything gently to combine and enjoy!
Recipe Notes: This makes quite a bit of sauce, so if you only want to make one package of gnocchi for your family, you could cut this recipe in half pretty easily. If you are a lucky person with fresh basil year round, fresh basil sprinkled on at the end would be delicious! It’s also a delicious sauce with Italian or chicken sausages, if you care to add some protein to the dish.