Monday, September 5, 2011
My wife loves my Zuppa Pomodoro di Toscano (Tuscan Tomato Soup), but it serves 8 or more and we were only 2 so I developed this recipe to find an alternative use for the excess soup . . . we soon found that our friends and family enjoyed the pasta sauce so much I began making it as a dish of its own. This recipe makes sufficient for 10 to 12 approximately 1cup servings, for smaller groups reserve, prior to adding the vodka, the number of cups needed for service and freeze the remainder in a lidded, freezer safe container for future use as either a sauce base or soup.
2 – 28 ounce cans of imported San Marzano Tomatoes, including juices
2 cups of chicken stock
1 ¼ cup good Vodka
2 large yellow onions, finely diced
1 ½ cups of heavy whipping cream
1 cup Pesto di Basilico (Basil Pesto, see recipe)
½ tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt (to taste)
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
2½ pounds of pasta of your choice (about 1/4 pound per person)
Freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1. Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over low heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until softened and translucent (do not brown).
2. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes (if used) raise heat and bring the tomatoes to a simmer. When the tomatoes are at a simmer, add the chicken stock.
3. Continue simmering for about 15 minutes giving the flavours time to combine.
4. Add the whipping cream and pesto. Remove from the stove and carefully pour the sauce base into the container of a blender or food processor and process (in batches if necessary) to the consistency you desire (we enjoy the sauce slightly chunky in the Italian fashion).
5. Reserve 1 cup sauce base per serving, at this point any base not used can be placed in a lidded, freezer safe container and frozen for future use. Pour the reserved sauce base into a large sauce pan and set aside.
6. Prepare pasta (allowing about ¼ pound pasta per person) al dente according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water, cooked pasta.
7. Place the sauce pan containing sauce base over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of vodka per serving of sauce (1 ¼ cups for the entire recipe) to the sauce base and bring to a rapid simmer. Correct seasoning to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
8. Add the pasta and toss. If the sauce appears too tight for your tastes add the reserved pasta cooking water, a little at a time, until the desired consistence is attained.
9. Divide the sauce pasta among serving dishes and serve immediately accompanied by plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.