Now usually I don’t do this (because lactose) but when it comes to pasta sometimes a creamy velvety itis-inducing sauce goes hard. A traditional vodka sauce calls for whipping cream but to elevate the flavor I modify by using cream cheese. And since this is a white cream sauce (no disrespect to any sauces of color) I add a splash of lemon juice to counter the richness.
The secret to making the perfect vodka sauce is to follow the 2% ABV (alcohol percentage by volume) rule. At this measurement, the sugar molecules in vodka coalesce robust flavors and access hidden aromas without tasting “alcoholy” or bitter. To achieve this ratio just add 5% of volume of the sauce in 80-proof vodka (about ¼ cup per quart) and let it reduce over the stove for approximately 7 minutes (s/o to the food lab for doing the math). Lastly, make a quick side of cooked kale and pan seared fish to complete the plate and enjoy. Reheat the vodka sauce next day by adding 2 teaspoons of vodka per cup of sauce and letting simmer for a few minutes before serving.
Grated Parmesan would’ve been the real MVP but in lieu I garnished with dried basil and red pepper flakes. For dietary restrictions substitute dairy products with your favorite lactose free or vegan option. Prep time is only 5 minutes and all ingredients can be found at your local grocery stores. E ku jeun (that’s Yoruba for happy eating)!
What’s your cheat comfort food? Let me know in the comments section one time!
What You’ll Need:
16 ounce bag Whole Wheat Noodles (dry) • 8 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese (original) • ¼ cup Vodka • 4 tablespoons Olive Oil • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice • ½ small Onion (chopped) • 4 cloves Garlic (minced) • 2 Fish/Chicken cutlets, Sausage (sliced), 16 shrimp, or extra firm Tofu (chunked) • 1 pound fresh Kale (cleaned and cut) • ½ cup Chicken Stock • Seasoning blend (teaspoon: Cumin, Paprika, dried crushed Basil, Red Pepper flakes, Salt to taste)
Step 1: Po’ Up Vodka Sauce
Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat • Stir in garlic, onions, crushed red pepper and let cook 1 minute • Add chicken stock and let simmer • Remove pan from heat and stir in vodka • Return to heat and let simmer until alcohol cooks off, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally • Over low heat incorporate cream cheese, stir until smooth, about 2 minutes • Stir in lemon juice then seasoning blend until smooth, 1 minute • Remove from heat and set aside
Step 2: Cook Noodles + Kale
Follow cooking instructions on noodle package • Pictured above: kale cooked with noodles over medium heat
baby cuz I’m a thug • Remove noodles from water and strain • Cook kale additional 7 minutes or until tender • salt to taste
Step 3: Join Forces
Add pasta to saucepan and toss until coated • Wipe drool from mouth
Step 4: Add A Protein
Prepare protein side and season to taste • Pictured above: pan seared tilapia, red pepper flakes, onions, garlic, salt.
Step 5: Plate It