Several years ago Tall & Handsome and I made a penne pasta dish with a tomato – vodka sauce. It was outstanding.
I’m not sure what became of that recipe, but I’ve wondered why vodka? So, I did a little digging and found out “why vodka”? Vodka is a clear and evidently tasteless alcohol. It’s that very quality that makes it useful in certain recipes. Back in the 1970s the Italians began experimenting with vodka in certain dishes – usually dishes with lots of tomatoes and heavy cream.
The end result was the award winning Penne alla Vodka. The alcohol of the vodka burns off leaving a delightful creamy pinkish dish. Supposedly vodka does things to tomatoes that no other ingredient in the world does – it reaches down deep into that little tomato and finds tastes and wonders the world has never discovered before.
Now, I don’t know if the people dining that evening had also been imbibing large quantities of vodka and just thought vodka and tomatoes were the Romeo and Juliet of the culinary world, but I do know one thing – from my totally clear head perspective, it tasted pretty darn good. The combo would at the very least passed for Mutt and Jeff.
So, a few days ago I found a very basic recipe for the beginning of what evolved into today’s recipe. I called it Tri-Color Tortellini with Spinach in a Tomato – Vodka Sauce. You get a surprise bonus with this recipe. This is a crock pot meal. According to how your crock pot cooks it might take yours a little longer, but I tossed the ingredients in and cooked the dish on low for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally and checking for readiness.
Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and served with your favorite bread.
Tri-Color Tortellini with Spinach in a Tomato – Vodka Sauce
1 16 ounce frozen bag of tri-colored cheese tortellini
8 ounces of fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
couple pinches red pepper flakes
2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup vodka
3 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
8 ounces cream cheese cut into chunks
Place all ingredients into a large crock pot. Cook on low for about 4 hours or until done.
© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.