Today's TV Dinner comes from TeamSugar member celebrity_soup. She wrote to tell me about how she was watching an episode of MTV's Made (you know the show that "makes" people into things they're not) and the folks on it were making a penne with vodka sauce, she also included a recipe for it. The episode, from season 5, is the one where they try and turn Ian into a salsa dancer in order to woo the girl of his dreams. Along the way he discovers that she loves penne with vodka sauce, so he sets about making some. In the end, he actually doesn't get the gal, but it's not from his lack of trying. And hey, at least he got a great meal (not to mention salsa dancing lessons) out of the whole thing. To check out a recipe similar to the one Ian uses on the show (thanks again to celebrity_soup for finding it for us),
1 quart Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce, blended until smooth
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound penne
Simmer the tomato sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir the cream into the tomato and vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to the pan with the sauce, and toss to coat.
Simple Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning. If sauce tastes too acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavor.
Pour half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and then pour 1 to 2 cup portions into plastic freezer bags. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes