Vodka Sauce with Whipped Ricotta. Creamy blush pink vodka sauce without the cream. I love whipped ricotta so much. And I have been craving vodka sauce. That is pretty much how this came to be. I wanted a light blush sauce that I could eat a ton of, put on anything & feel excited to share with you. Use the sauce for the base of my Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza, make a big batch to freeze or serve with penne & extra ricotta.
Vodka sauce is great because we don’t have to stress about long simmer times like in a bolognese. The flavor is layered and developed quickly. So your most important steps are going to be at the base: the onion, olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, the vodka. Sauté the onion in olive oil until soft and browning (flavor!). The tomato paste & garlic will also caramelize as it cooks (more flavor!).
Finally, the vodka. Just use whatever you have on hand. I am a Tito’s lover myself. When the onions have been cooked and it is time for the garlic and tomato paste, your pan may seem dry or like it’s browning too much. That is okay – the vodka is going to hit the pan now while it is hot. It will sizzle and rapidly bubble. Scrape the bottom as it does & it will basically clean your pan while adding even more flavor to your base. If it doesn’t sizzle or bubble right away, turn your heat up a little to get the liquid out. We don’t want a vodka-y VODKA SAUCE. Stick your nose in there. If it still smells like college memories, it’s not cooked out yet.
As soon as its done, add the whole peeled tomatoes & simmer 10-15 minutes. Yes, you guessed it, more flavor. This also breaks down the whole peeled tomatoes & melds everything together.
From the Kitchen
The rest is simple. Whip the ricotta in your blender while your tomatoes are simmering. I like to remove some before blending the sauce. I love how it looks when you swirl some of the ricotta in right before serving. BUT you can definitely just whip the entire cup & blend it all together. If using whole milk ricotta or hand-dipped ricotta, the sauce may be thicker. Thin it with a bit of water or milk if you would like, or use a tad less.
Add simmered sauce with all of those delicious amazing smells to the whipped ricotta in the blender. Blend on high until smooth, creamy & that gorgeous penne alla vodka color. I LOVE to serve this with my classic chicken cutlets.
When you make this Vodka Sauce with Whipped Ricotta please let me know in the comments. I love talking to you and hearing your thoughts. Or tag me on Instagram @quartersoulcrisis.
Vodka Sauce with Whipped Ricotta
- dutch oven, large sauce pan or large braiser
- 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion about 3/4lb
- kosher salt
- 4 large garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 28 oz whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 cup ricotta + more for serving whole preferred
- 1/2 cup vodka
- fresh basil & grated parmesan for serving
- Cook Onion: In a large skillet or sauce pot, heat 2tbs extra virgin olive oil until hot. With heat on medium, add chopped onion & a pinch of salt. Sauté onion until golden, soft & browning. The onions will be very cooked, it takes about 12 minutes.
- Add vodka: When onions are ready, add minced garlic. Toss for 30 seconds to a minute until garlic is fragrant. Add tomato paste and toss until everything is coated and it looks kind of jammy. Pan should be slightly dry & may be browning, this is okay. Add vodka (careful if over open flame). It should sizzle immediately in the hot pan & lift off any browning. Scrape pan as vodka simmers. Cook until vodka smell is gone (about 3 mins).
- Finish Sauce: Add whole peeled tomatoes & simmer for 15-30 minutes stirring often. I like to simmer it as long as possible, sometimes up to an hour. This is a good time to cook pasta – reserve 1/4 cup salty pasta water. Add to simmered sauce.
- Whip Ricotta: In blender or food processor, add 1 cup of ricotta with pinch salt & black pepper. Taste & add more salt if needed. Blend on high until whipped & smooth. Add sauce contents to blender with ricotta in it & blend on high 30 seconds to one minute. Toss sauce over cooked pasta. Serve with parmesan & extra dollops of ricotta if desired. This is enough vodka sauce for up to 2lbs pasta (about 1 & 1/2 quarts) Holds up incredibly in the freezer for 3+ months.