Whose sauce is this?

23 Jun




True confession.  I love vodka cream sauce.  Emphasis on the cream.  And it took me forever to find a recipe for home-made sauce that I loved.  I have shared it here on this blog.  Had I known that finding just the right recipe was closer than I ever thought, my quest would have been much shorter.  Who knew that I would find the perfect recipe from my sister?  I should have known.  My sister has always been a steady source of wonderful things my entire life.  She has been my confidant, my cheerleader, my wailing wall, my late night phone buddy, and my best friend.  My mom grew up without a sister and said that when she had a girl, she knew she wanted another.  She wanted her daughter to have a sister.  And mom knows best..my sister (and her family) are a huge blessing in my life.  I am forever grateful for her.  And never more so than when she shared her vodka cream sauce recipe with me. Not really, but props to her!.

But there has been a modification to this previously perfect recipe.  Recently when my sister was visiting (we live in different cities), we went to lunch at a wonderful authentic Italian bistro.  It is a small place with all home-made pasta and sauces.  Great wine.  White table clothes.  It’s the type of place that you want to pull out your elastic waisted pants to go!  The food is that good!  They should put a “warning-food coma may occur” sign on the door!  Sometimes when I have a dish that I love, I will order it out. I like to see other approaches to the same dish.   The lunch date with my sister was the perfect opportunity to do this.

I ordered home-made tortellini with vodka cream sauce.  I just HAD to taste it! (and I knew my sister would not be able to resist poking her fork across the table into my plate).  The vodka sauce resembled ours (see how I took possession of her great sauce? I am shameless!).  It was a similar color to the sauce that we made.  It was the same consistency.  Clearly we were on the right track with our home-made sauce.  The vodka cream sauce was every bit as good as our home-made version, but there was a secret ingredient that we loved. Could we identify it?

We tasted, we licked, we talked, we rolled our eyes up to the sky deep in thoughtful consideration as we pondered the surprise flavor.   And I think we did it.  Our discerning palate and fine intellectual discussion rendered the information we were seeking.  The secret ingredient was roasted red peppers.  Even though we could not get a firm answer from the chef, and believe me we tried, my sister and I were in agreement.  And we decided to toss this secret item into our next batch of vodka sauce.  We both thought it added a very nice delicate layer of flavor to the sauce.  We also discussed how to add the ingredient.  To puree it prior to adding it, or just give it a rough chop?  We decided to do both.  Puree some and chop some.  And we decided to add it more toward the end of the cooking process.  So here goes!

The results were fabulous.  Two thumbs up from the six kids around my dinner table. But this is how it happens….great recipes.  You develop them, share them, then continue to seek to improve them.   True, though, that at some point they are perfect.  My mom’s meatloaf is a case in point.  But I still enjoy trying other versions of the same dish regardless.  But of course, I just enjoy eating…especially with my sister!

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