Vodka sauce is another of those dishes that has hundreds of variations. Some are creamy, while others are chunky. Some contain meat, while others are left plain. This is my version based on several we’ve tried. It’s rich and creamy, but with a bright tomato flavor. Sausage, prosciutto and peas add layers of flavor. Finish it with some freshly grated Parmesan and basil. As my husband said: you could serve this to company, or, in my case, you could serve it on a weeknight. It’s that easy.
This vodka sauce was a hit with the whole family, although Eclair wasn’t a fan of the peas (which are her favorite vegetable, by the way…). Even though it contains vodka, the alcohol cooks out of the recipe. And I’d leave the Grey Goose in the liquor cabinet for this one (unless you’re having a martini while cooking.) Cheap stuff will work just fine.
Finally, edit! If you’d rather have chicken, add chunks of sauteed chicken breast. Or add shrimp, or just use prosciutto and peas. As I explained to Eclair this weekend, recipes are like advice. I listen to them, but rarely follow them exactly.
- 4 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
- 4 Sweet Italian sausages
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch of Italian seasoning (or oregano if you don't have Italian seasoning)
- 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
- ½ cup vodka
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup milk
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste (or more to taste)
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to sprinkle on top
- ⅓ cup frozen peas, thawed
- A few leaves of fresh basil, sliced (optional)
- Heat a medium nonstick frying pan over medium high heat. Squeeze the sausage out of the casing into the pan in bite-sized chunks. Discard the casings. Cook the sausage until browned on all sides and cooked through. Drain on a paper towel. Wipe the pan.
- In the same pan, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until the onion is translucent. Do not brown. Add the prosciutto, garlic and Italian seasoning and continue cooking for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes with their juice and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vodka and simmer 5 minutes. Add the cream, milk, Parmesan cheese, and tomato paste. Stir until the tomato paste is absorbed into the sauce. If the sauce is too light, add more tomato paste. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly.
- Stir in the sausage and peas and cook until heated through. Note: As this cooks, it gets thicker. If it gets too thick, stir in a tablespoon or two of the pasta water to get the desired consistency. Season to taste - with the cheese, prosciutto and sausage you likely won't need salt. But I like to add some fresh black pepper.
- Serve tossed with your favorite pasta. Top with extra grated Parmesan cheese and basil, if using.