Inspiration: With one more spaghetti squash kicking around in my kitchen from the winter, I thought that it would be the perfect time to make a homemade vodka sauce. Plus, I’ve been dying for some goat cheese lately!
What we Loved: The vodka sauce in this meal is really a lovely sauce. It’s lighter than something like a hearty meat sauce, yet it’s still really rich with creamy tomato flavor. To me, vodka sauce has always been much better than a basic marinara because the tomato and vegetable flavors taste so much richer and more pronounced. Perhaps even more important, the consistency of the sauce is really wonderfully creamy, which is something that I’ve always prefered over a plain marinara. And my favorite component of the entire meal? The goat cheese, of course! It completely melts right down into the sauce and adds a perfect finishing touch.
Helpful Hints: I’ve had problems with tomato-based sauces being too acidic before. I always thought that adding sugar was the only way to counteract that acidity, but sugar isn’t something that I prefer to use. I learned from this recipe that adding butter to your finished sauce will do the trick, too. A few pats in my pan really balanced out that acidic bite and left me with a much cleaner tomato flavor. Learning awesome new tricks like that is one of my favorite things about cooking :)
Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce, Goat Cheese, and Basil
Source for the vodka sauce: adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
For the sauce
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
4 fresh basil leaves, minced
2 dried bay leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper
1-2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
To finish the meal
1 spaghetti squash, cooked*
Basil leaves, finely sliced
1. In a large saute pan, heat a good drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, and saute until soft. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute.
2. Add the tomatoes, basil, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until the sauce is thick.
3. Remove the bay leaves, and taste for seasoning. If the sauce tastes too acidic, add unsalted butter 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavor.
4. Add the vodka to the sauce, and simmer until the mixture reduces by 1/4, approximately 20 minutes.
5. Stir in the cream and Parmesan, and simmer until the sauce is well blended and heated through.
6. Serve the sauce over cooked spaghetti squash and topped with goat cheese and basil.
*To cook your spaghetti squash, poke it all over with a fork. Place it into the oven at 400 degrees, and bake for 1 hour. Slice the squash in half, remove the seeds from the center, and pull the strands out of the squash with a fork.