Galena’s Tomato Vodka Sauce

“Love is in the Air”….and so is a good vodka sauce for Valentine’s Day.  My cousin sent me a request this week for a sauce that would go great with her heart shaped pink ravioli’s…here you go Marifrances, enjoy and “Happy Valentines Day!!!

What you will need

What you will need

I use home grown tomatoes, but if I had to buy some I recommend Pomi Strained Tomatoes.  The most important part of this recipe is patience in cooking your onions and garlic.  You need to let them cook over low heat until soft and transparent

Soft and Transparent

Soft and Transparent

This really is a very quick and easy sauce to make, total time is about 30 minutes….

Tomato Vodka Sauce

Tomato Vodka Sauce

I served this over my homemade spinach ravioli...awesome combination, and added Jenny’s favorite garlic bread.

Marley's Garlic Bread

Marley’s Garlic Bread

This sauce works great with any type of pasta!  Happy Valentines Day!!!!

Spinach Ravioli with Tomato Vodka Sauce

Spinach Ravioli with Tomato Vodka Sauce

Galena’s Vodka Sauce

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good quality vodka
1 28 ounce size Pomi Strained Tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Melt butter and oil together in a medium size saucepan over low heat.  Add onion and garlic, cook until transparent, about 10 minutes.  Add red and black pepper, increase heat to medium and deglaze pan with vodka.  Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, paste, basil and oregano.  Simmer sauce 30 minutes, or until thick.

Add heavy cream and grated cheese, cook until heated thorough.  Serve over pasta of your choice!  Boun Appetito!!!


Tomato Basil Pie

Years ago, I started teaching cooking classes in my kitchen.  At that time I belonged to a welcoming group called “New Neighbors of Germantown”.  This group was a great way to  met new people in the community.   We had LOTS of different activities in this organization.

One of my “new neighbor” friends was traveling to Connecticut for a visit.  I asked her to bring me a couple bottles of faucet water, yes water (for my pizza, of course).  As a thank you I made her a pizza, brought it over to her home nice and hot.  Here reply was “you have to teach us how to make this”.  So, I became an activity for New Neighbors, “Cooking Adventures in Galena’s Cucina” (Gail’s Kitchen).  I had NO idea where that path would take me!

"Cooking Adventures in Galena's Cucina"

“Cooking Adventures in Galena’s Cucina”

Classes in my kitchen became out of control…I would have more than 25-30 ladies in attendance and not enough room for them.  Another friend from this group recommended me to the owner of a quaint gift store in Germantown (Gift Horse) that also hosted cooking classes.  I was so excited to teach there and having the opportunity to met so many wonderful people!

One recipe that really reminds me of that school is  “Tomato Basil Pie”.  I can remember teaching that class almost 10 years ago; people are still talking about it! This recipe is perfect for this time of the year.  Fresh garden tomatoes and basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, yum!  I hope you enjoy it as much as my “Gift Horse” class did!

Pie Crust  (You can also use a frozen store-bought crust or mini pie crusts)
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sour cream
4-5 basil leaves
couple dashes of salt

In food processor with knife blade process butter and basil leaves until smooth.
Add flour, salt and sour cream. Process until mixture balls up. Chill for 1/2 hour
for better handling of the dough. Place on floured pastry sheet or board and roll
out to fit a 9” pie pan. Place shield or wrap edges in foil to prevent over browning
during the baking of the pie. Cook in pre-heated 425° oven until slightly golden,
about 10 minutes.

Tomato Basil Pie

Filling
1 9” pie crust
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano, or Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
10 Roma tomatoes, or garden tomatoes, skins removed*, chopped and drained
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive
Salt & Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

While pie crust is warm, place 1 cup mozzarella on top of crust. Layer tomatoes
and sprinkle with, salt & pepper. In separate bowl mix basil, garlic, remaining
mozzarella, romano or parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. Place on top of tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake in a preheated oven at  375° for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Let pie cool at least 15 minutes for easier cutting.

*Cut an X on the bottom (pointy end) of the tomato and place in a pot of rapidly boiling
water.  The tomato skin will begin to peel, about 1 minute. Remove from heat
and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Peel skin under running cold water.

You can always add wonderful ingredients to the filling, fresh sautéed mushrooms, some cooked bacon, black olives, red pepper flakes.  You are only limited by your imagination!

Tomato Basil Pie

Tomato Basil Pie

 

 

Mini Pie

Mini Pie

Recently I made this wonderful recipe for my “Live at 9” demonstration, here’s the link:

The only bad thing about being a member of New Neighbors is so many friends move away, but I guess that’s part of life!

New Neighbors Board Members 1998

New Neighbors Board Members 1998


Live at 9 – Pasta Fagioli

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 medium carrots, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

½ head fennel, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried parsley

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup chicken stock

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can cannellini beans

½ lb. cooked pasta

2 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add chopped vegetables and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add pepper flakes, basil, parsley, ground black pepper, chicken stock, tomatoes and beans.  Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add cooked pasta and simmer an additional 2-3 minutes.  Garnish each serving with grated cheese.

Yield:  4 servings

Galena’s Cucina/Gail Churinetz