“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.”
A Classic By Any Standard
This is a staple around here and as with most classic recipes I’ve messed around with it to make it my own. It’s something I hope each and every one of you will always do with my recipes as well… make them your own. I don’t always make it this way. I like to change it up, sometimes it’s a simple sauce without any of the optional add-ins, other times I like to dress it up a little.
Want this dish to be vegetarian? Leave out the pancetta. Don’t like spicy (first of all WHAT?) Fine. Don’t bother with the chilli flakes. Looking for decadence at its peak? Use whipping cream in place of the buttermilk.
You get the point… make it your own.
I am here simply to inspire you to cook, cook at home, buy real food, cook with real ingredients, and to discover the absolute pleasure of creating wholesome healthy meals in your own kitchen.
If scratch pasta is something you think you might be ready to give a go have a look at my recipe for Homemade Pasta. It’s honestly one of the easiest things you will ever make and oh so satisfying!
I also think this is a great excuse to point out a funny little cooking contradiction that involves buttermilk. I used buttermilk last week to make my zucchini cheddar chive quick bread. It’s great to use in baked goods and helps to keep the fat content a little lower than using oil when cooking savoury recipes. It’s a great substitute for cream in this and many other recipes, HOWEVER cream is not a substitute for buttermilk in baking recipes.
How weird is that?
Regardless of which ingredients you choose to add to or omit from this little beauty, I think we can all agree that Pasta Alla Vodka is always a classic way to satisfy any palate.
Wine Pairing: After a bit of a break from his wine pairing duties (here on Be Still & Eat, I fully expect he has been pairing wines right, left and centre in his real life) I’m happy to report that Greg is back and in fine form I might add!
“Mmm. Yes. Immediate thoughts are Valpolicella, but not a Ripasso, rather one of the lighter ones without the dried grape intensity. A nice Chianti would also go very well.”
Enjoy & Namaste!
- Pasta for 4 (a note on amounts* I typically cook the entire bag and save what's left over after I've tossed what I need into my sauce or as much as the sauce will hold. If however you need to cook exactly the amount for those you are serving then I would suggest you measure it out bowl by bowl remembering that pasta does expand when cooked)
- 4 thick slices pancetta, cut into cubes (optional but delicious!)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 tins high-quality tomatoes
- ½ cup vodka
- 1 cup buttermilk (or cream)
- A couple of shakes of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 1 bunch of spinach, washed and rough chopped (optional but very pretty)
- Chilli pepper flakes (optional)
- Parsley to garnish
- Fresh ground pepper
- If using pancetta, cube it and saute in a tiny bit of olive oil until crispy
, remove about half with slotted spoon and set aside to garnish with later)
- Add onion and over medium heat cook until it starts to become translucent
- Add tomatoes stirring to combine
- Add vodka and allow to cook out a little before adding the cream
- Reduce heat to simmer over low heat until sauce begins to thicken
- Add optional seasonings of chilli flakes and Worcestershire sauce
- Add spinach at the very end of cooking time only long enough to wilt
- Toss drained (and NEVER rinsed) pasta over thickened sauce and serve into individual bowls or one big family style bowl
- Garnish with reserved pancetta, chopped parsley and tons of freshly ground black pepper.