Date Night MOCK Vodka Sauce (Jersey Style)

By • October 2, 2011 • 37 Comments

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Author Notes: I'm a jersey girl through and through. I lived the first 18 years of my life there. Although, Ive lived in Montana for the past six years I have not forgotten what spectacular Italian food tastes like! For those of you who are not familar with New Jersey, almost everyone is Italian and if you're not you practically feel like you are, because everyone around you is. There are authentic mom and pop pizzerias on just about every corner and they actually sell pizza by the slice (IMAGINE THAT!?!) !! Italian foods are part of our culture. Everyone knows what manicotti, ziti, calimari, and gelato are. If you don't pronounce one of those words right, one of your Italian friends will not be ashamed to correct your pronunciation either. I am not Italian, but I secretly wish I was... Whenever I am home for a visit, I almost always have to get my favorite dish, Penne Vodka. Talk about heavenly... sweet, creamy, tangy...this sauce beats all in my book! So when I recently had some delicious Penne Vodka on a date night out with my boyfriend I was inspired to concoct my own version.... But heres the crazy catch, I wanted to make Penne Vodka without the Vodka. Weird, huh!?! Well, you see my boyfriend had never had it before and I wanted him to enjoy the magic of this dish. He doesn't consume any alcohol at all, not even in his food. Contrary to popular belief not all alcohol cooks or bakes off in many dishes. So I set out to come up with a semi- original recipe to give my man a little taste of New Jersey :) My recipe is mainly compiled from two recipes with a little dash or my own not-so-secret ingredients! The sauce is made of half red sauce and half white sauce with the alcohol substitution thrown in at the end. Special thanks to Marcella Hazan and lastnightsdinner for helping me create this.I found the vodka substitute on the alcohol substitute chart on gourmetsleuth.com. So if you know someone who is allergic to alcohol, or can't consume it for medical or personal reasons, I suggest making them this delicious sauce. Or if you just want to experiment with it, because it sounds crazy, I invite you to give it a go as well! Enjoy it, but do me a favor, if you ever go to New Jersey or New York, order this dish at any fine Italian restaurant or pizzeria. It will be sure to please. If there are any leftovers, please send em' my way!growinggourmand

Serves 4-6 people

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

  • 2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes; blanched or 2 cups canned itialian plum tomatoes cut up, with their juice
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onnion, peeled and cut in half
  1. Put either the prepared fresh tomatoes or the canned in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking and the fat floats free from the tomato
  2. Stir from time to time, mashing up any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. While sauce is simmering move on to the "Easiest Alfredo Ever."
  3. Discard the onion and add salt and pepper to taste.

"The Easiest Alfredo Sauce Ever" + the extras

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup 1 freshly grated Parmagiano Reggiano cheese, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/3-1/2 cup white grape juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • freshly chopped basil (chiffonade), for garnish
  • splash of pasta water
  1. Melt the butter in the cream in a wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, stirring or whisking often.
  2. When the butter is completely melted, add the cheese a little at a time, whisking or stirring after each addition
  3. Continue cooking until the sauce is reduced and thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.
  4. When both sauces are completed, measure them out into equal amounts depending on how many people you are serving. Stir the equal amounts of red and white sauce together in one pot. Any extra red or white sauce will make a tasty leftover for another day.
  5. Add the red pepper flakes, white grape juice, and hint of lime juice for that tangy/spicy/sweet flavor that this sauce requires.
  6. Let the combined sauce with its new additions heat thoroughly and allow all the flavors to blend; about five minutes on medium heat.
  7. Toss the sauce with prepared penne pasta, or any pasta of your choosing. Also, be sure to mix in a splash of the starchy pasta water to bring it all together.
  8. Garnish with freshly chopped basil and some parmesan and DIG IN!
Jump to Comments (37)

Tags: Italian Cooking, non-alcoholic, penne vodka, Vodka sauce

Comments (37) Questions (0)

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almost 3 years ago Bevi

I made and froze a batch of Marcella's sauce yesterday, so it's great to be halfway to trying your amazing recipe!

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

Oh how wonderful!!! Isn't her sauce alone unbelievable?? !!! :) If you get to try it let me know how it turns out! Thanks a bunch!

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

@ boulangere- I can't say thank you enough ! :-)

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

And just so you all know, she'll be working on her own version of a stuffed chicken breast wrapped in BACON next week.

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almost 3 years ago lovintobake

I am Kristy's Mom, and, yes,we live in Jersey and, yes, we are so proud of her - what a great recipe - Kristy, do you think Marra's Restaurant would go for this? - I would say defintely. Thank you everyeone for the comments, and Chef, you are a great teacher!!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

And lovintobake, you are magnificent parents of an amazing young woman! She is the first of my students to post an original recipe here on this wonderful website. None of us could be more proud.

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

Oh mom ! :) Youre so cute! Thanks a bunch.. This is fun huh?!?! :-D

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almost 3 years ago ashleypiersonchasesdinner

Thank you for sharing this fantastic recipe!! Love it!

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

your welcome! Hope you get to try it out sometime soon and then let me know what you think!

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almost 3 years ago lapadia

Your recipe is creative and sounds seriously delicious...Bravo!! Thanks so much for sharing it :)

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almost 3 years ago lapadia

Oh! PS...I am Italian but haven't been to New Jersey, sounds like my kind of place :)

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

Thanks for the positive feed back!!!

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almost 3 years ago drymeat

growinggourmand great job.

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

Thank you!

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almost 3 years ago sospled

The dish sounds amazing and knowing you I am even more positive it is. I can't wait to try it one of these nights. You are awesome

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

THANKS A BUNCH!! Which one of my classmates are you??

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almost 3 years ago kdubu

Hurrah for you, now may we have the recipe for the bacon wrapped chicken on the plate next to the pasta!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

yes! I was thinking the same thing!! the pasta looks awesome gg.

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Believe me mrsl., she's awesome!

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

I just realized this was you, Mrs. W.CUTE NAME! Ha ha no wonder why you asked me about this today :) The recipe for the chicken sure isn't mine... but it sure is delicious. The only suggestion I have is to make sure the mozzarella is fully stuffed inside cause it makes a mess on the grill.. or have some foil underneath! Enjoy...heres the site.. not sure how to make it a link : http://www.finecooking...

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

apparently the link made it on its own. that was easy :)

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

mrsl, she'll be working on an original version of the chicken breast wrapped in BACON later this week. Trust, me, we'll love it.

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

Wow , to all :thanks for the encouragement! I'm so glad this will be helpful for some of you! This is so much fun and very exciting! If any of you try it out and have suggestions please let me know. I'm looking forward to posting my next recipe already!

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almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This sounds fabulous! I love vodka sauce, and your "non-vodka" version sounds like it's spot-on. Congrats on your first recipe submission!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

hla, she worked on the flavor profile all by herself. I think she's found her calling in life.

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

Thank you very much for the compiments HLA ! Hope it brings a smile to your face and happiness to your palate and your tummy! :)

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almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This sounds great, love it!!!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

She did it all herself, sdb!

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

Thanks!!! :-)

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almost 3 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

Looks like a great dish! I have friends that are in alcohol recovery that wont eat any foods made with alcohol. Glad to save this one!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

sLx, she came up with the non-alcohol flavor profile of this all on her own. Great kudos to her!

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

That is so awesome to know that this recipe will help other people in similar predicaments. I hope that you and your friends enjoy it! Thank you thank you!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I had an email from one of my very good food52 friends wondering if you were one of my students. I explained that yes, and that you're also the first to post an original recipe here. Congratulations! Wonderful job!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Seriously, Kristy, we are all extremely proud of you!

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

Thanks Chef! The picture is posted!!!!!!!!!! I finally did it! :)

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Ohhhhhhh my! I can practically taste it from your ingredients and beautiful description. Beautifully done, and I can't wait to see a photo!

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almost 3 years ago lovintobake

I am Kristy's Mom, and yes, we live in Jersey, and, yes, we are proud of you, Kristy! It sounds so delicious!! Thank you all for your encouraging comments and thank you, Chef, for being such a great teacher!