Spicy Sausage Pasta alla Vodka
This recipe is inspired by my favorite dish at the restaurant, North Italia. I hope you love it too!
- 8 ounces short-cut noodles of choice such as rotini, rigatoni or farfelle (can use GF)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 pound hot italian sausage
- ½ yellow onion diced into ¼” pieces
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 24 ounces tomato basil pasta sauce I like Rao’s the best
- 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste* sub 3 tablespoons ketchup and reduce brown sugar to 1 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoons vodka (optional)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
- Freshly grated parmesan to taste
- Cook noodles al dente (the lowest suggested time) according to package directions, with 1 teaspoon salt in the water. Set aside.
- Heat a large, high-sided skillet or dutch oven to medium heat. Allow to heat one minute, then add sausage. Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon or firm spatula, until golden brown around the edges, 8-10 minutes. Add meat to a heat-proof bowl.
- Add ⅓ cup water and onions to the pan and stir to deglaze any brown bits from the bottom. Saute until onions are softened and translucent, 4-6 minutes, then add garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
- Add pasta sauce, then add a splash of water to the jar, shake and pour that in as well. Add brown sugar, tomato paste, vodka (if using), remaining ½ teaspoon salt, oregano, basil, onion powder and a generous amount of black pepper. Stir to incorporate, then remove from heat. Wait 2 minutes, then stir in heavy cream, then sausage and noodles. Carefully, gently, fold to incorporate everything.
- Add parmesan to taste and enjoy immediately! Leftovers will keep in the fridge up to 4 days. I do not recommend freezing, but you could make and freeze just the meat sauce.
*NOTE: buy tomato paste in a tube instead of a can so you can easily save it in the fridge for future use. You can also freeze it.