What says Saturday night like vodka and pasta?! Sounds like a party to me! While I’m always singing the praises of using your favorite store-bought products to make life easier, this vodka sauce is from SCRATCH and it actually makes a world of difference. As always, feel free to omit the lobster if it’s not for you. Last note, the pasta shape here is called “GEMELLI.” My brother’s girlfriend is a pasta enthusiast, so we’ve spent the summer uncovering loads of new noodle shapes and we gotta say, the tight twist of these short noodles gives them the PERFECT chew (if you cook them right, of course – which you will because you will follow these directions and everything will be perfect – or you didn’t get the recipe from me)
SHOPPING LIST: 1 lb. pasta (gemelli, preferred), 1 lb. lobster meat, tomato paste, chopped garlic, vodka, heavy cream, olive oil, butter, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper
You are going to get two pots going. One sauce pot with heavily salted water to par-cook your pasta and another wider sauce pan for your vodka sauce. As usual, I like to use the larger saucepans with the higher, flat sides so we have room to finish cooking our pasta in the sauce.
In your saucepan, you are going to heat 2 tB. of olive oil over medium heat. Add 2 tB. of chopped garlic and sauté until translucent. (If you want to add 1/2 cup of chopped onions here, GO FOR IT! You know by now the Prince still picks onions out of his food so we opted out). Next, add 1/2 a tube of tomato paste (about 1/2 cup), and sauté for another 3-4 minutes. Deglaze your pan with 3/4 cup of vodka (BE CAREFUL! IT MIGHT FLARE UP! THAT’S OK!) and allow the vodka to cook down for 5 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Finally, add 1 cup of heavy cream and allow your sauce to simmer. Add 2 heaping tB. of red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste. SPICY is in bold for a reason, so if you don’t want your sauce to have a serious kick, use less pepper flakes.
Allow your gemelli (or whatever pasta you choose) to boil for about 8 minutes, or until it still has a firm chew in the middle. Before you strain your pasta, add 1/4 cup of your pasta water to your vodka sauce and allow your sauce to continue to simmer. Add 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese to your sauce and top with all of your steaming hot pasta to help melt the butter and Parm. Using a wooden spoon, mix well until the sauce is incorporated into the noodles. Then add 1 lb. of your roughly chopped lobster meat and mix again. I bought my lobster at my local seafood store, but you could always boil 6-8 lobster tails (fresh or frozen) in salted water if you can’t find fresh picked lobster meat and remove it yourself. Continue cooking your pasta in your simmering vodka sauce until your noodle has gotten to the perfect consistency and then serve immediately. As my Father-in-Law likes to say, “hot food’s hot!”