(Not) getting sauced tonight

Another angel-hair pasta dish; this time I found the vodka sauce.


I oodle for noodles once a week; this week I opted for vodka sauce. If you read my last pasta recipe, it was sausage with a creamy French dressing sauce. It was a result of a not-so-fortunate trip to the grocery store when they were sold out of the creamy pasta sauce. This trip I had more luck, and returned home with the jarred vodka sauce and other ingredients to accompany it. 

When I was home and about to start cooking, I had an “oh no” moment. I didn’t forget to buy any of the ingredients on my shopping list, but I did question the alcohol content of the vodka sauce. Having three years of sobriety under my belt, I reached for my phone to do a quick Google search. The vodka sauce did indeed have actual alcohol in it, and search results varied the amount of time it would take the liquor to fully cook off. After getting sidetracked by a story of a man in North Carolina that had BAC (blood alcohol concentration, a measurement of the percentage of alcohol that’s in your bloodstream after you’ve been drinking) after eating a gas station cinnamon bun, I put my phone down and decided to proceed with cooking. Since it contained such a minimal amount of alcohol which might (or might not) be getting completely cooked off in the simmering process, I decided it would be OK. 

The sauce was incredibly simple to pull together. I am hesitant to use frozen veggies, but in this instance using the frozen peppers and onions was a great shortcut, and saved a couple of bucks as well. Dump those into the skillet with the ground turkey and cook it up, adding a couple dashes of salt and pepper flakes, and let it simmer. 

While it was simmering, and I was hoping I was evaporating off the vodka, I cooked the other half of the box of angel-hair pasta I had from my previous pasta meal. Angel-hair is my favorite noodle shape. I know there are rules to pairing sauces and noodle types, and they recommend penne with vodka sauce. Personally, I find it rather aggravating chasing the little torpedo-shape noodles around my plate. At this point in my life, I just make what I like. When I was done cooking, I made up my hearty dinner plate, topped with shaved Parmesan cheese, and sat down to dinner. I wasn’t able to finish, or maybe I filled up on the warm baguette I had alongside it. Needless to say, I did not feel a buzz from the sauce, and the flavor didn’t taste like vodka at all, but a rich, creamy, slightly sweet tomato sauce. I ate the leftovers for the next two nights, and still had a leftover container of sauce that I put into the freezer just in case the store runs out of vodka sauce again. 

Angel-Hair Pasta with Vodka Sauce

1 lb. ground turkey
1 bag of frozen peppers and onions
olive oil
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. salt
1 jar Bertolli Vodka Sauce
angel-hair or penne pasta
¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese 

In a pan or skillet, sauté on medium heat, uncovered, ground turkey with a bag of frozen peppers and onions. Add olive oil as needed to avoid sticking to the pan. Add salt, red pepper flakes, and any additional seasonings you fancy. Break apart the ground turkey as it cooks. 

When the meat is cooked through and the water from the frozen vegetables has cooked off, reduce heat to low, and add the jar of vodka sauce.

As the sauce simmers, prepare pasta of your choice; mine was angel-hair. Best served with warmed French baguette alongside — spread with butter, of course.