Cooking with Marisa Part I… Penne Rigate with Vodka Sauce

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PhotoScapeXSome days are better than others for cooking and let’s face it, I don’ t cook for kids on a daily basis not like a young mom would and growing up in my family we ate what was put on the table…I recall my own daughter screaming when I opened a jar of baby food other than the fruit and 1 or 2 veggies, granted it took me some time to figure this out, but way back in the dark ages of the 1970’s I guess that I had no other choice than to make her baby food, following the usual age appropriate guidelines just think, I never worried about a baby food recall and I knew the exact processing method and ingredients, in essence she ate what we ate.  IMG_2271

Start with a pot of Marcella Hazan’s easy tomato sauce with onion and butter: 1-28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes, 5 tablespoons butter, 1 onion peeled and cut in half, and a little salt.  I add a teaspoon or so of EVOO…add everything to a saucepan, heat over medium heat and bring to a simmer, breaking up the tomatoes from time to time.  I prefer a little chunkier sauce, but you can whiz with a stick blender for a smooth sauce.  Cook for 30 minutes, remove onion.  To turn the tomato sauce into vodka sauce sauté one medium shallot or 1/4 small onion diced,  2-3 cloves minced garlic, a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, a sprig of thyme, one fresh bay leaf, a small sprig of basil and oregano.  Toss in a parmesan or Romano cheese rind (1/4 ” x 3 inches), add 1/2 cup vodka and cook off the alcohol for a minute or two.  Add it all to the tomato sauce, simmer for 10 minutes add 1/2 cup heavy cream, a few torn basil leaves and thin with pasta cooking water if necessary.  Serve over hot penne rigate grate fresh cheese over…coming soon Marisa’s pork tenderloin cutlets.PhotoScapeX