Rigatoni Vodka
Rigatoni Vodka- simply awesome!
We have a local restaurant that does probably the best Rigatoni Vodka I have ever had!  All of the ingredients are minced so fine, they almost render down in the cooking.  This is my version of the sauce – my son, who is a HUGE fan of the restaurant , says it is just as good – I guess I will have to go with his opinion!  This is a fairly simple sauce to make – again, the trick is to mince up everything as small as possible.  This is a great meal when you don’t feel like cooking – a little dicing, and simmer it for a bit – you are good to go!
Well, enough said, here is the recipe:
For the sauce:
1 tbs regular olive oil, NOT extra virgin
3 spicy Italian turkey sausages, de cased ( kind of a pain, but really necessary – usually you can just squeeze the meat out like toothpaste…. Sausage toothpaste…yummm)
1 jar tomato basil sauce
1 small onion, diced fine
½ cup red wine
1 cup (a handful) frozen tri color peppers, diced fine
1 14.5 oz can diced tomato’s, with the water
1 tbs tomato paste
5 large cloves garlic, diced fine
1 tbs fresh basil, (2 tsp dried)
2 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup vodka
1 cup ½ and ½
3 cups Rigatoni
In a large sauté pan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. ( this is the first recipe where I don’t use a shallot – it’s actually a regular onion…lol)  Add sausage, mincing with a spatula as it cooks.  I use a really nifty tool by Pampered Chef – it has about 6 fins, and chops stuff up in a pan really well!  But a regular spatula will work fine.  Saute sausage until brown, then deglaze the pan with the red wine, stir until absorbed.
Add sauce, tomatoes, paste, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.  Simmer on med low, stirring frequently.
In a medium sauce pan, bring about 4 or 5 cups water, seasoned with a tbs each of salt, basil and garlic powder to a rolling boil.  Add the pasta, and cook till al dente – about 7 or 8 minutes.
Add the vodka to the sauce when you put the pasta in the water, turn heat up a bit to bring the sauce to a boil.  Simmer for about 4 minutes.  Add ½ and ½, and simmer for another 4 minutes until pasta is done.
Drain pasta, add about 1 tbs olive oil, about 10 twists of fresh ground pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese – and mix well.
Plate about 1/3 of the pasta, cover with a few ladles of sauce, top with parmesan cheese, and enjoy!
There will be plenty of leftover sauce – it serves 6 sauce wise, 3 pasta wise.  The sauce freezes very well.
Bon Appetit!

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