Got vodka sauce right – look long enough.

1/2 cup vodka
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, somewhat packed, not fluffy
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Mix and simmer the vodka and marinara sauce until they’ve reduced to the original consistency of the marinara sauce. What kept messing me up is that most recipes say something like “for about 20 minutes”, and that just didn’t work for me. The alcohol never cooked out enough, and the cream was never quite enough to balance the it. I found a low-medium heat for about 25-30 minutes worked out much better than low heat for 20, but the sauce splatters everywhere at this temperature. But if you just keep in mind the original texture of the sauce before the vodka was added, it should work out fine.

Adding salt was another weird part – the recipes I started from all called for a lot of salt, but none of it was necessary. Unless you’re starting with sauce you don’t like, which you really shouldn’t, your marinara sauce is already salted to taste. If you want a ton of salt, it’s already there. If you don’t like your sauce salty, it’s already fine as it is too. Bottom line – don’t add salt. As much salt as you normally like is already in there from the beginning. Adding much more is going to put the sauce at yucky-tasting levels combined with what salt is already there.

For a good cheap cooking vodka, the guy at Schuber’s recommended Svedka. $13/bottle.

Semi-related, the internet seems to think Saturn is going to want to replace the valve body in my transmission – anyone know how long this usually takes? I’m beginning to wonder if it would be worthwhile to buy a beater for 600$ or so, and sell once the rest of this is resolved. The best time to do anything expensive is when you’re not desperate – this could keep me out of that “rip me off, please?” mindset, not worrying too much about when it’s done, or, if it’s not really fixable, could let me take my time to find something worth keeping …