It seemed like there was a phase in the cooking world, and maybe it’s still happening, when vodka pasta sauce was the freakin’ bee’s knees.
It was the sexiest thing you could do to pasta.
But here’s the problem with vodka sauce: Good vodka is specifically engineered to be tasteless. IT HAS NO FLAVOR.
So wouldn’t it make sense to make a sauce with booze that has some flavor? More importantly, maybe booze that has some herbal flavors that would go well with tomatoes and cream?
When I first began drinking gin, about a year ago, I dove in full force.
This was only because it was love at first sip.
My dearest Erika, man can she make a divine gin martini.
It’s the best – it’s smooth, it’s subtle, it’s absolutely perfect. AND, there’s no one on earth who can work her magic. (ssshhh).
I believe it to be a combination of both Erika’s beautiful and magnificent hands, but also the gin she uses.
It’s the only way to go.
I know that because I’ve tried ~ I’ve tried others and it’s just not the same.
The complexity and depth of flavor from the botanicals of this creation is out of this world.
Congrats, you guys. You KNOW you’ve done well.
Thus, I bask in the delight of my favorite martini at Brooklyn’s, by Erika’s hand, each and every Friday night at the speakeasy.
(For those of you who may be worried, I still imbibe in my nightly wine ritual all the other days of the week ending in ‘y.’)
So the gin…specifically the unique flavor and botanical combination found in Lee Spirits dry gin only makes sense to create a flavor profile in food – and spicy pasta sauce.
I suppose the dry gin alone would make a fantabulous sauce.
But, being the “Princess Picassa” that I am in the kitchen, I crafted something a wee bit different.
Erika taught a class on gin infusions at Brooklyn’s a few weeks ago – and I decided to use this spicy peppercorn hibiscus gin infusion for my sauce.
Clearly I made the right decision.
And finally the pasta.
As you’ve seen over the past few months, I’ve become obsessed with making pasta at home. It’s so easy. And it’s meditative.
And, it’s both delicious and beautiful too.
A hand rolled “garganelli” made its way across my kitchen counter this time.
Garganelli[ɡarɡaˈnɛlli] are a type of egg-based pasta formed by rolling a flat, square noodle into a tubular shape. They can be made from smooth pasta or a ridged variant.
While garganelli are very similar to penne, they differ in that a “flap” is clearly visible where one corner of the pasta square adheres to the rest, as opposed to a perfect cylinder in penne.
This one will truly knock your socks off.
I know I’ve said that before – about OTHER things – but I promise, this time – true story.
Garganelli and Boozy Gin Cream Sauce
1 batch Fresh Pasta**
4 Tbs. salted butter
2 cloves fresh garlic, smashed and then minced
2 cups organic cream
1 cup Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce
1 cup Lee Spirits Dry Gin (infuse your own with chili, pink peppercorns and hibiscus for 1 week, if you so desire)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
**omit the beets from this recipe AND instead of cutting into noodles, cut the rolled out pasta sheets into 3×3″ squares.
Wetting corner end of each pasta square, begin rolling from the opposite corner to create an elongated garganelli tube of pasta. (The dab of water helps seal the sides together). Repeat until all tubes are rolled. Dust with additional flour and cover until ready to cook.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook the garlic until golden brown. Stir in the cream and pasta sauce, as well as the salt and pepper, and allow to simmer and thicken for about 10 minutes. Add the gin and simmer for about 15 minutes more, until thick.
Add the pasta directly into the sauce, with a touch more salt, if desired.
Allow to bubble and simmer for 5 minutes, until the pasta is cooked.
Carefully remove the garganelli with a slotted spoon.
Drizzle remaining sauce on top for serving.