Rigatoni alla Gin

No, this is not a typo.  I did not get my liquors confused.  I would like to introduce you to Rigatoni alla Vodka’s sweet, subtle sister, Rigatoni alla Gin.  While I love the Vodka version, my Uncle David turned me onto this version where he dares to use gin, and it works, oh does it work.  Adding gin instead of vodka lends a subtly sweet flavor, and makes for one delicious sauce.

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Rigatoni alla Vodka was always a treat at our house, or something my Grandmother would make if someone said they liked it.  Since then, I’ve made it on special occasions, or when someone was really craving this deliciously rich treat.  Not too long ago, I was craving this perfect pasta dish.  I went to the liquor cabinet, and we only had gin.  No worries, I knew that my Uncle had used gin in the past, so I knew it was something I could switch out.  I got to googling recipes and low and behold, my Uncle’s Rigatoni alla Gin recipe came up from his cookbook, Dad, Now What’s for Dinner?:  A Collection of Family Favorites by Dr. David Liporace.  I was so excited to see this recipe that I made it on the spot and haven’t looked back.  I tweaked it a little because I love peas in my Rigatoni alla anything and made some other adjustments here and there based on what I had on hand at the time.  It turned out perfectly.  I hope you all try this special dish and enjoy it with your family!

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Rigatoni Alla Gin

1 pound Rigatoni

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

2 cups Marinara Sauce (recipe below), or 1 16 ounce jar of your favorite store-bought sauce

1 8 ounce can Hunt’s tomato sauce

1/8 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (or Italian Seasoning)

4 Tablespoons Butter

1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil (or 2 teaspoons dry basil)

1/3 cup frozen peas

3/4 cup heavy cream

4 to 5 Tablespoons Gin

salt and pepper

Original Recipe: https://books.google.com/books?id=qXvrqLE7AkAC&pg=PA91&lpg=PA91&dq=rigatoni+alla+gin&source=bl&ots=KmHpEXEN_C&sig=2X03To6g9abURQgl7DCyLaBUR7c&hl=en&sa=X&ei=r0-8VPS_Nor6yATXpILYCg&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=rigatoni%20alla%20gin&f=false

In a large sauce pan, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and a nice pinch of salt, sauté until translucent.  Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds or so.  Add marinara sauce, Hunt’s tomato sauce, butter, Herbes de Provence, basil, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously with kosher salt.  Cook pasta al dente, according to the box.

After sauce is done simmering, remove sauce from the heat.  Add cream, peas, and gin.  Put back on heat and simmer to desired thickness, or about 10 minutes.

Once pasta is cooked, drain and reserve until sauce is ready.  Once sauce is ready ladle two or three ladles full of sauce into the pot where you cooked the pasta.  Place pot over low heat and stir pasta until nicely coated with sauce.  Scoop pasta into serving dishes, pour with extra sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

My Marinara Sauce

1 28 ounce can tomato puree, or whole tomatoes pureed in blender

5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon dried basil (or fresh)

parmesan rind (optional)

salt and pepper

In large dutch oven, heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil, garlic and pinch (or however much you want) of crushed red pepper over low/medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Do not let the garlic brown!!!  Add tomato puree (I always save my can and rinse with a little water to thin out sauce later on, I usually end up using about 1/2 cup of water), 1 teaspoon salt (to start, you can always add more, and I do), 1/4 teaspoon pepper, basil, and parmesan rind.  Simmer for at least an hour.  Taste after an hour, adjust seasoning.  Remove parmesan rind before serving.

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