Great pasta vodka includes two delicious ingredients: pancetta and heavy cream. What's not to like right? Well, when we make nightly dinners at my house, we look for healthy alternatives to these kinds of ingredients. And we look for quick meals to prepare at the end of a long day, especially meals that we can all pitch in and help cook...what great bonding in the kitchen!
The Tiny Meatballs
oats (regular or quick cooking)
Dried Oregano (preferable Sicilian Oregano on the stem)
Pot boiling water
Hearty pasta such as rigatoni, penne or ziti
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Medium Yellow Onion, chopped into small dice
Large cans whole tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Plain, nonfat Greek-style yogurt (I make my own, it's so simple, See ** Below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Form into tiny meatballs approx. 1/2 " and put on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.
Boil water and cook the rigatoni al dente. Meanwhile prep the sauce: Heat the oil in the pan and slowly saute the onion until translucent and nicely carmelized, approx. 5 minutes.
Add Vodka and Whole tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes with the round end of a whisk (a great way to crush tomatoes, thank you for the tip Mario Batali!)
Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
Simmer the sauce for another 5 minutes.
Add the yogurt, stirring well to combine.
Add the meatballs and the cooked pasta and stir well.
Serve with a generous sprinkling of Parmigiano cheese and your favorite salad on the side.
*To make your own Greek-style yogurt, put a double layer of coffee filters in a wire mesh strainer. Place the strainer over an empty bowl making sure the strainer is suspended above the bottom of the bowl. Pour two small tubs of plain, non-fat yogurt in the coffee filters. Press Plastic wrap onto the yogurt. Put in the fridge overnight. In the morning you will have a strained, thick, creamy yogurt. The liquids will have settled at the bottom of the bowl, discard them. The yogurt is ready to use in place of heavy cream or sour cream in most recipes.