Pasta with Vodka Sauce is a rich dish. When it is topped with pan-seared shrimp or scallops it is even better. To make an extra creamy vodka sauce use an immersion blender to make the marinara smooth before adding the cream and Parmesan to the sauce.
Penne pasta is a good shape to use for this dish because it holds so much of the decadent sauce. Ample Bites prefers using a rough, wide-cut homemade noodle similar to a linguine but a bit more rustic.
Pan-Seared Shrimp over Pasta with Vodka Sauce
(Mark Kelly, 2013)
1 pound large pasta shapes
3 cups Marinara Sauce (see below)
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb large (20-24) shrimp, peeled and deveined
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350F.
Pat shrimp dry and season with pepper.
In a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven simmer the marinara sauce and vodka over low heat, stirring often, until the mixture reduces by one-fourth, about 20 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, bring 2 tablespoons of oil to a shimmer. In batches, sear the shrimp on both sides until cooked through, adding oil as needed. Remove to a plate and keep warm in a 200F oven or warming drawer.
Also, boil and drain the pasta reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Stir the cream into the marinara and continue to simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Taste the sauce and season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Place the sauce back over low heat. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Add the pasta water and simmer, tossing occasionally until the sauce is thickened.
To serve, place a portion of the pasta on a plate. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and top with shrimp. Serve immediately.
Makes about 2 quarts
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
½ cup dry red wine
2 small onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 (32 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 pound dried whole-wheat spaghetti or linguine
2 dried bay leaves
In a large casserole pot, heat the ½ cup of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and the sea salt and black pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine, and bay leaves and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard bay leaves.
The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.