Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dinner easy as ABC

Do you follow Ree Drummond over at her insanely popular blog The Pioneer Woman?

Well did you see her Food Network debut?  She now has her own TV show by the same name. So the other Saturday morning I had to tune in for her premiere. Once I watched it, I had to make one of the recipes that very night.

Of course, it required a trip to the liquor store.

What's that you say? ... Oh, for the food, silly, not for the cook.

You mean your meals don't require trips to an ABC store? 

my final product

I made Ree's Pasta Vodka Sauce. Follow the link for the recipe and I'll tell you my experience with it here in case you want to stop by the liquor store today and pick up dinner for tonight.

Having made quite a few tomato-based Italian style sauces from scratch, I was surprised at the short cooking time on hers. So I made mine that Saturday evening shortly before my husband, son and I had to be at the show my daughter was singing and dancing in.

Well, the short cooking times apparently weren't long enough to fully cook off the Vodka because it tasted Very Vodka-ie. Want to know how I know that taste? Read the RSVP chapter of my book here.

Tasting it before serving it, I was slightly nervous about feeding this to my 10 year-old. It was strong I tell ya, and I didn't even use the full cup of Vodka she said you could use. The onions I used were really strong too. That plus the red pepper flakes made for one zesty bowl of pasta! But I liked it and figured I could tweak it next go round.

I was relieved, however, that my daughter wasn't home for the dinner because I was certain she'd hate it. She doesn't do spicy and I knew she wouldn't like the idea of Vodka in her food, even with the alcohol cooked off. She'd take one bite of this and resist eating another.

On Monday I came downstairs and found her gobbling up the leftovers reheated in the microwave after school. "Mom, this pasta is awesome," she said while I stared at her in disbelief. "Give me a bite of that," I demanded as I wondered if she was destined for a life in an alley drinking Vodka from a paper bag - GOD FORBID.

It tasted so smooth. So creamy. So mellow. It was awesome. None of the sharp flavors from the first night remained after a day or two in the fridge.

So this is my kind of dish - tastes one way (but good) the first night, and tastes different (but good) as left-overs a few days later with no additional effort on my part.

I've since made Ree's Vodka sauce again - I have a whole bottle of Vodka to use after all. I cooked things longer the second time and decreased the Vodka by about a 1/4 a cup. It was much less zesty. It was good but I kinda missed some of the zestyiness.  So I'll go back to Ree's way next time.

Oh, and the only deviation I made from Ree's recipe (the first time) was to add a couple pinches of sugar to the sauce when I added the tomatoes. Sugar cuts the acidity of canned tomatoes. Then I covered the top with shredded Parmesan cheese before serving, Mmmm.

Let me or Ree know if you try it and like it.


  1. Renee,

    Thanks for the link to the recipe. Its been a while since I have tried one of her recipes. I think I will be trying this one soon! Thanks for sharing your experience.


  2. You're welcome, Mary. Enjoy.

  3. I've only tried one of her recipes for some kind of cookies. They turned out awful (and I am pretty sure I had to have done something wrong). Maybe it would have been advantageous to pick a recipe that included vodka... would have had something to ease the disappointment of my efforts not turning out edible. Dare I try again? And, yes, a full cup of vodka sounds like it would be way too strong.

  4. Your idea of keeping napkins for the reception table is gratifying. Rolling up is very unique idea, well, using colourful ribbons will looks attractive.

  5. Mmm, that sounds really good, Rachel! I may need to check that recipe out. I grinned at your comments about going to a liquor store. I always feel a need to explain that when I do that too. :) I like to use red wine in my Italian sauces, and white wine in my chicken sauces.

    I also really appreciate the ministry that you and the P31 women have to other women, speakers and writers. Thanks.

    Jennifer Dougan

  6. What a fun post! I love hearing your experience and getting a new recipe at the same time. Thanks for this, Rachel. Have a nutrious, delicious weekend!

  7. Thanks for stopping by my site today, Rachel. The new Bible study on Discerning God's voice sounds really good. That's almost always a topic that is close to our hearts, isn't it? Who is it by?

    Jennifer Dougan

  8. Rachel, I made her fig/prosciuto/arugula pizza the other day. I thought I would love it, but honestly I didn't. I ate it and told myself I liked it, but I ended up tossing the leftovers (whereas I normally keep them) because I knew we wouldn't finish them off. Just odd flavors. But then I made her roast yesterday and it was to die for. Can't wait to try the vodka pasta. I'll keep your experiences in mind.


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