Here at Dole Whipped HQ, we decided it might be fun to reproduce some popular dishes from Disney restaurants. This week’s selection was Pasta alla Vodka from Mama Melrose at Hollywood Studios.
I selected this dish because I thought, “Hey, it’s pasta. That’s easy. Everybody likes pasta.”
First of all, no, not everybody in my house likes pasta. I forget that sometimes. My children are incredibly picky so keep that in mind. Secondly, I shall rename this dish Pasta of Doom because this dish really was doomed from the beginning. I had intended on making it last week but then I came down with a really bad head cold the day of so the preparation was delayed four days. Then, while I was making it, I accidentally burned the ingredients and had to start again. It gets better. For the marinara sauce, you will need to either prepare it the day before or start it in the morning because they recommend cooking it for 5 hours. I used a slow cooker because ain’t nobody got time to babysit that. So yeah, we’re not off to a great start, are we?
So let’s just dive in, shall we?
For this recipe you will need:
Marinara Sauce (to be prepared ahead):
1.5 lbs diced onions
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
16 oz crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/8 cup minced garlic
4 tbsp basil, chopped
1/2 tbsp dried marjoram
1/4 tbsp ground black pepper
16 oz diced tomatoes
Add all ingredients to pot and simmer on medium for 5 hours.
Ok…I have some issues with this recipe. A pound and a half of chopped onions? 1/8 cup of minced garlic? Can we have those things in regular cooking terms, please? Also, how big a can of tomato paste? And tomatoes come in 15 oz and 14.5 oz cans. I’m not opening a can just to use part of it and having to store the rest. Do you see where I’m coming from in this Pasta of Doom thing?
Ok back to the recipe.
For the Vodka Cream Sauce:
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced small
2 tbsp pancetta
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cup penne pasta, cooked
kosher salt and pepper to taste
4 oz of marinara sauce from earlier preparation
2 oz heavy cream
1 tsp pecorino romano
2 oz vodka
Ok, so for the marinara, I didn’t have time to prepare this on the stove so I chucked all the ingredients in my slow cooker and left it on low all day. You can certainly do that. When the marinara was cooked, I thought it was a bit chunky for my liking so I hit with my stick blender to smooth it out a bit, but you can leave it as is if you like.
Alright, so I live in a very small town and I don’t have access to pancetta so I substituted a slice of thick cut bacon.
First thing you need to do is put the penne on to boil in heavily salted water and drain when cooked to al dente. Put the olive oil in your pan and warm it up. Then add the pancetta/bacon to the pan and let it heat a bit. Then add in your onion and garlic.
Once all that stuff has begun to brown, deglaze the pan with the vodka and let that reduce a bit to cook out the alcohol. Add in the prepared marinara and the cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add in the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Serve with a heaping pile of grated romano cheese on top.
So…what was the verdict? I thought it was pretty good, but a bit bland. Personally, I like a bit sweeter marinara flavor so I’d probably add some sugar to the sauce. I’d also add a bit more spice in the form of red pepper flakes since it needed a bit of a kick. As for my husband and three kids? Yeah no. The kids all “hated” it and the husband ate it without complaint but didn’t care to have it again.
How’d you like that glowing endorsement? Hopefully the next recipe will be better received.