Fusilli with Vodka Sauce

Friday, September 5, 2008

I love this pasta sauce for its simplicity. It's creamy, fresh tasting and goes great with whole wheat pasta. The vodka adds a crispness and sets off the tomatoes well. Make sure you use a good brand of diced tomatoes. I use Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes.

This is a quick pasta sauce that goes together in about 20 minutes. You set your pasta water boiling at the same time you start your sauce, and the pasta and sauce will finish together. Twenty minutes means 20 minutes.

Fusilli with Vodka Sauce
28oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup cashews
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 oz tomato paste (1/2 can)
1/3 cup vodka
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1 lb whole wheat pasta (penne, fusilli, etc)

Set a pan of salted water to a boil for pasta. Blend cashews to a powder, then add half of tomatoes and blend until smooth. Combine the tomato/cashew puree with the rest of the diced tomatoes and set aside.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add tomato paste, garlic, and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about a minute.

When the pasta water is ready, add pasta and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, stir tomatoes and puree into the onion mixture. Remove pan from heat and add vodka. Return pan to medium-high heat and simmer briskly until alcohol flavor is cooked off, 8 to 10 minutes; stir frequently and lower heat to medium if simmering becomes too vigorous.

When pasta is done, drain in a colander, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water, and transfer pasta back to pot. Add sauce to pasta and toss over medium heat. Add reserved pasta water (1/4 cup to 1/2 cup) back to the pot until a desired consistency is reached.

4 Servings: 536 cal (12g fat, 95g carbs, 20g protein)

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