Homemade Vodka Sauce
This vodka sauce recipe makes it easy to simmer a batch of the popular creamy tomato sauce right at home. Goes with anything and ready in about 20 minutes!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup vodka
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
In a large saucepan or high-sided skillet, warm olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add onion and tomato paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften.
Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 30-60 seconds, just until the garlic is fragrant.
Use your hand to add the tomatoes, holding each one just above the skillet and squeezing it in your fist to crush it lightly, letting the juices and crushed bits fall into the skillet. Pour in remaining liquid from the can, and season with salt.
Stir in the vodka, bring sauce to a simmer, and allow to bubble for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat if the bubbling becomes very vigorous.
Stir in the cream and cook for 1-2 minutes, until heated through. Use as desired.
- Consistency: As written, this recipe yields a sauce with medium consistency — smooth but with bits of tomato and onion speckled throughout. See photos in the post for a visual. If you prefer a smoother sauce, you have several options — 1.) blitz the finished sauce in a blender or food processor, 2.) blitz the tomatoes in a blender or food processor before adding to the sauce, 3.) use canned crushed tomatoes. Option 3 is the easiest but my least favorite, because crushed tomatoes vary widely in quality and are rarely as good as canned whole tomatoes.
- Storage: Prepare the sauce fully, then allow it to rest on the counter long enough to cool all the way to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 4-5 days.
- Freezing: Cool sauce completely to room temperature, then transfer it into freezer-safe containers or zip-top bags. Do not fill all the way to the top — leave some room for expansion. Freeze for up to 6 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight, then transfer sauce to a saucepan and warm over medium-low to low heat, stirring occasionally. Using higher heat may be tempting, but is likely to result in unpleasant splatters.
- Recipe Revision: It’s worth noting that in a previous version of this recipe, I suggested blitzing a portion of the tomatoes in a food processor or blender, and chopping the rest. That definitely yields a good result, but takes considerably more time and equipment. The hand-crushing method outlined above is much simpler and yields an almost indistinguishable sauce.
Calories: 103kcal, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 142mg, Potassium: 29mg, Vitamin A: 295IU, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 0.1mg
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