25% of this household thinks vodka sauce is a waste of vodka. The other 75% thinks vodka sauce is a gift from God.
My kids fell in love with vodka sauce at a restaurant in Chicago (OBVIOUSLY not in Texas- because, you can’t compare what Texas calls “Italian” to the legit in my hometown). Knowing what others put into vodka sauce, I’ve chosen to make it a little lighter, without compensating flavor. Most recipes use a stick of butter and a heavy dose of cream. I think that is totally unnecessary. It’s really about how the vodka breaks down the tomatoes, not about clogging the arteries.
Once again, this is about feeding the swimmer. He’s off to Austin for his state meet and needed a good send-off meal since he will be eating out for the next few days. I don’t do videos, but I should do a time-lapse of his plate as it refills and disappears over and over throughout a meal. This one was no exception.
So far my summer has been dedicated to getting my 14 year old to his never-ending practice schedule (with a little help from a friend), making lunches/dinners or even picking up food (gasp) to bring to my 17 year old while he’s working, and getting myself to work (gag) with my own packed lunch, as well as making and packing a lunch for my husband. Just like that long sentence, it all feels like a mess.
There is sure to be a break in August so I can catch my breath. As my son was getting ready to leave for Austin, I asked him if he’s looking forward to some time off after the state meet. He shrugged and nonchalantly said-
“Well, if I get a futures cut I have another meet.”
Is that possible? I have no idea. Would I ever let him think it isn’t?
Not a chance.
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 medium shallot, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup vodka
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup heavy cream (or lighten it up with half and half)
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb ground turkey (At least 93% lean)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried mustard
- 2 slices left over bread, grated or finely chopped/crumbled
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
- few grinds of black pepper and pinch of salt
- In a large dutch oven, melt butter into olive oil.
- Add shallot and garlic and saute until just starting to soften, do not brown.
- Carefully, add vodka.
- Bring to a simmer and add tomatoes.
- Cover and continue to cook for 50 minutes, stirring often. Keep at a low simmer to burn off alcohol.
- After 50 minutes, remove cover and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes more.
- Season with salt/pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Saute shallot in olive oil in a small pan. Add salt, pepper, and Herbes de Provence. Do not brown, just take out the crunch. Stir in balsamic vinegar and turn off heat. Cool.
- In a large bowl, add bread, milk, egg, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and dried mustard.
- Mix in ground turkey and sauted shallot mixture.
- Using a tablespoon scooper, form tiny balls and roll in wet hands to make smooth.
- Place meatballs on a baking pan coated with cooking spray.
- Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and drain on paper towels.
- Add meatballs to sauce and simmer, uncovered 5 minutes.
- Slowly mix in cream.
- Stir in basil and serve over pasta.
- Garnish with extra basil.