• Leigh

Orecchiette With Vodka Sauce--Not


I love pasta with vodka sauce, with the acid bite of tomatoes softened with rich cream and just the right touch of basil and other Italian herbs. The sauce coats the pasta like velvet and slides gently on the tongue, tantalizing your taste buds. Unfortunately, vodka sauce is loaded with calories and fat, and vodka just isn't something I keep around the house. So, what to do instead? How about pasta--in this case orecchiette, or little ear-like pasta--with non-vodka sauce? I've kept many of the ingredients, like the tomatoes and Italian herbs, but have left out the cream and vodka. "Oh, no!", you say? Yes, yes. I have a better set of options. Instead of heavy cream, I've substituted light sour cream, which provides not only richness but tang to the sauce. The vodka in the traditional sauce provides little, if any, flavor. The role of the vodka is to balance the rich cream. If you don't use the rich cream, you don't need the vodka. Nonetheless, because the sour cream adds some extra zing to the sauce, you do want a little sweet balance, which you can get from adding two or three tablespoons of Marsala wine. To further boost the flavor of the sauce, a few tablespoons of bacon crumbles will add salty, smoky depth. I've also increased the protein in the sauce with the addition of ground turkey, which is quite mild and so doesn't compete with the other flavors in the sauce. So skip the cream and vodka and opt for orecchiette with Un-Vodka Sauce. The Un-Vodka sauce will swathe the little orecchiette in rich flavor with fewer calories and less fat. If you'd like to substitute other pasta for the orecchiette, feel free. Just try to use a pasta--like shells--that holds the sauce.

Un-Vodka Sauce -- Serves 4+

1-2 teaspoons of canola oil

1/2 a large onion, chopped

1 pound of ground turkey

1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes or tomato puree

1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

3/4 -1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 teaspoon of dried Italian herbs

1 teaspoon of dried basil

1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano

3 tablespoons of bacon crumbles

2-3 tablespoons of sweet Marsala wine

1 cup of light sour cream

Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute it for 5 minutes or until it softens a little. Add the ground turkey, breaking it up and letting it cook for 10-15 minutes or until slightly browned. Add the crushed and diced tomatoes, garlic powder, salt, pepper, Italian herbs, basil, and oregano and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring it frequently. Add the bacon crumbles, partially cover the pan, and let the tomato sauce simmer for 20-30 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream and Marsala. Let the sauce sit for 5 minutes, stir it again, and serve it with pasta.

#tomatoes #sourcream #pastasauce #groundturkey

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