There’s a little takeout place in our neighborhood, Bite Me Best, which makes a ridiculously good dish called rigatoni buttera. It’s rigatoni, sausage and peas tossed in a tomato cream sauce. After ordering it several times, I decided to try my hand at making it myself. I’ve made vodka sauce before, using Rachael Ray’s recipe, but I wasn’t wowed by it. Then I came across Lidia Bastianich’s recipe for penne alla vodka several months ago, and it’s now become my go-to vodka sauce recipe. What I like about this version is that it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients and it makes just enough sauce for a pound of pasta. Definitely use the full pound and eat leftovers the next day. I only used a half a pound last night and the sauce was too watery. Which brings me to the second reason I like this recipe: you finish cooking the pasta in the sauce, which allows it to thicken up quite nicely. Often times I find vodka sauce to be a bit watery. I usually use rigatoni and I also add sausage and frozen peas to the sauce when I put the pasta in. Another note: be sure to generously season the sauce with salt and crushed red pepper. Otherwise, it can be a bit bland. You can skip the additional olive oil or butter at the end but don’t forgo the parsley or cheese. (I use Romano, but Parmigiano-Reggiano would also work.) It adds a nice flavor to the dish.
Click on the Penne alla Vodka link above for the recipe.