Since I was less than thrilled with my B&G last week, I was on a mission this week to come up with a contest-worthy recipe. The contest is being sponsored by So Delicious, a brand of non-dairy milks and ice cream. So the contest rules are to use only 8 ingredients ( not including salt and pepper), at least one of which has to be a So Delicious product. I absolutely love their ice cream, but I wanted to create an entree rather than a dessert.
I immediately started thinking about a cream-based soup or sauce. The unfortunate thing is that So Delicious makes milk (almond and coconut) but not heavy cream. That makes things a little more complicated. But, you know, I'm stubborn, so I googled how to reduce non-dairy milk to make it thicker. (I could have thickened it with cornstarch, but that would add another ingredient and I was limited.) At this point I still wasn't sure what I was making, but I wanted to make sure I could, whenever I decided what that may be.
The recipe idea came to me in class Monday, when I was about ready to stab my eyes out with my pencil. This particular class is horrifically boring, so to avoid incurring personal injury, I tend to space out. I wanted a recipe that would look fancy, but would actually be fairly simple. Maybe it should contain alcohol, like wine... or vodka... Of course! I made vodka cream sauce once, before I was vegetarian, and I've seen it on restaurant menus. It just sounds sophisticated, doesn't it? Super fancy, like it will impress the pants off people if you simply order it. It's romantic, like something you would order while out on a hot date.
So that's it. I made a sauce out of milk and vodka and other stuff. The results? I don't know. I really liked it, and I will be submitting it to the contest as soon as I'm done here, but I still feel like it could have been better. So consider this a rough draft. If you decide to try this recipe at home, here are a few suggestions to really jazz it up:
- Use heavy cream or non-dairy creamer instead of the milk for a richer sauce. I would start with 1/2 cup and add more if you think you need to. And if you choose to do this, you can just add it along with the tomatoes and sauce, no need to reduce.
- Throw in some nutritional yeast. Seriously, that stuff is like crack made with love, there's no way it won't improve the flavor.
- Be very generous with the salt and pepper. Add other spices as you see fit. I would probably toss in some oregano and a dash of cayenne.
2 cups diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vodka
1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
15 oz can tomato sauce
28 oz can diced tomatoes, excess liquid drained
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp fresh basil, roughly chopped or torn
1 lb farfalle (bowtie) pasta
Salt and pepper
Fill up a large soup pot with water and put it on heat to boil the water for your pasta. While you're waiting for the water to boil, in another large pot, saute the onions and garlic on medium-high heat for about 5 min. When onions are soft, add the vodka and reduce to half. This should take about 5 minutes.
When the liquid has reduced, add the milk and lower heat to medium. You don't want the milk to come to a boil, because it breaks up and gets gross looking. Allow the milk to simmer and reduce by about half. This will take 10-12 minutes.
At this point, your water is probably boiling, so throw in the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box.
When the milk has reduced, add the sauce, tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix well and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes or until pasta is done.
When pasta is cooked, drain it and return to the pot. If you prefer chunky sauce, then you're done at this point. You can pour your sauce onto the pasta and stir to incorporate. If you prefer smooth sauce, then blend the sauce in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Then you can add it to your pasta.
Best of both worlds!
Garnish with additional basil and enjoy!