Vegan Vodka Sauce
This sauce, creamy, rich and elegant, contains no dairy and no animal products. Serve it with pasta of your choice. I used whole wheat/sweet potato gnocchi. A sprinkling of fresh parsley completes the dish, or parmesan cheese can be added by non-vegans.
24 oz. jar Marinara Sauce (my favorite is Barilla)
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
12 oz. block of silken tofu
¼ cup vodka
a generous grind of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
In a blender, combine all ingredients except nutmeg, salt and pepper. I pour the vodka into the sauce jar, cap it and swirl it around to get all the sauce out. Blend slowly at first, then at a high speed until it is smooth and homogenous. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper, a little at first, blend and taste, adjust seasoning and blend again. Cook the sauce, covered, over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring periodically.
I came up with this recipe while learning about the properties of unfamiliar foods I would be using as a vegan. I already understood veggies and beans, but I needed to learn about vegan "cheeses", tofu, "milks". When a vegan cheese melts, what does this mean? In some cases, not much, it just gets a little softer. So I began branching out and thinking of other ways to achieve a "creamy" consistency. Rather than melting, I began thinking of blending, and worked with silken tofu. Tofu can have a pronounced bean aftertaste, which I don't mind, but non-vegans might, so I next began thinking of strong accompanying flavors -- tomato, garlic, vodka -- Vodka Sauce!
In my mind, this is the ultimate comfort food, pillowy, sticky, tender pasta enveloped in a smooth, flavorful sauce. Pre-vegan, I discovered that freshly ground nutmeg greatly enhanced anything I made with cream, even savory flavors, so I included it here and I think it works well. I hope you enjoy it!