• Eddie

Vodka Sauce > All Other Sauce

Is it authentic (whatever the hell that means)? Who cares, It’s fucking delicious. Vodka sauce has more origin stories than Marvel Comics. There are multiple chefs who claim that they or their parent “invented” it. None of these origin myths pre-date 1974. Most likely it was a clever ad campaign designed to sell vodka and none of those jokers discovered anything. Or maybe an Italian chef called his creamy sauce “Penne Vacca” b/c vacca means cow in Italian, and someone misheard him and added vodka. By the 80s, it was considered “fancy” in NYC restaurants, and Italian nightclubs. I happen to love it, but no one ever seems to make it at home. Let’s change that. It’s mad easy.


Olive oil

2 or 3 onions (depending on how you feel about onions), roughly chopped

5 cloves garlic, whole

1 bunch basil leaves, make sure to wash all the grit off

2lbs fresh tomatoes, rough chopped, or one 28-ounce can of peeled tomatoes

1/3 cup vodka

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Splash of heavy cream.


1. Get a saucepan hot and coat the bottom with a glug of olive oil. Add the onions, stir them up to coat with oil, hit it with a punch of salt, and cook until lightly browned

2. Add the garlic and the basil and cook that for 5 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes. Use a potato masher or the back of a heavy spoon to smush them to release their liquid. Add the vodka. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let it go (with occasional stirs) for at least 30 minutes until the tomatoes are broken down. Add the cheese and stir. Cook for 5 more minutes.

4. Remove the pot from the heat and use a hand blender to get a kinda chunky/kinda smooth texture (you know, like vodka sauce). Add the cream, a little bit at a time while stirring until it looks pink. Taste it. Adjust seasoning if needed.

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© 2018 Eddie McNamara