The history of alla Vodka Sauce seems somewhat sketchy, to say the least. Upon reading up on it a bit today, and having the usual conversation with my fiery grandmother Josie, I find this recipe is seemingly MORE American than Italian. If you will American – Italian would be the very best I can figure at this time.
I can say this much though after spending some of my downtimes reading up on alla Vodka Sauce on Wikipedia. The exact origins of Penne alla Vodka are unclear; there have been multiple claims to the invention of the dish.
Everyone from Paula Franzese, an American law professor at Seton Hall University School of Law. He stated his father Luigi Franzese, created the dish in 1970. Dante, a restaurant in Italy. James Doty, a graduate of Columbia University, and finally Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook, states that it was invented in the 1980s by a Roman chef for a vodka company that wanted to popularize its product in Italy.
I turn to Josie and ask ” WHO isn’t claiming this YUMMY concoction ?? ” Josie has a reply all right… Her eyes roll up in her head she fiercely flicks that cigarette in her ashtray- she replies ” Everyone in their mother EXCEPT traditional Italians… That’s Who Linny the Pooh! ”
Josie calls me Linny the Pooh because of my middle name being Linn…also I guess since I was a baby I have loved Winnie the Pooh. There are a few things I have a passion for Cooking, the history of food, Winnie the Pooh, and Josie. Most of you know Josie by now… ( She’s that lovely grandmother I adore . )
Onward to the recipe!
Fettuccine with alla Vodka Sauce & Pink Shrimp
- 1 pound of Fettuccine noodles
- 2 pounds of steamed Key West Pink Shrimp
- 2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 and 1 /2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 cup of vodka
- 1/4 cup of fresh chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1/2 cup of grated Romano cheese
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large metal skillet over medium heat, add the shallots and garlic. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes, dried oregano and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add the 1 cup of vodka – cook till the mixture is reduced by almost half.
- Meanwhile, add the crushed tomatoes to the pan, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and place it on the stove top on very low for 35 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove top and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and cook the pasta al dente. (Follow package instructions) Drain and set aside.
- Place the tomato sauce mixture in a blender and purée until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.
- Reheat the sauce add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes more if desired. Add shrimp and re-toss. Stir in 1/2 cup Romano cheese.
- Serve with an additional sprinkle of Romano cheese and fresh basil on each plate.