I love vodka sauce – if it’s made correctly. There needs to be a good balance of cream, tomatoes and a little vodka. I usually only order it in a restaurant and never tried making it at home, but it is on my list of things to do. You have to understand that neither my husband nor I ever had jarred sauce of any type growing up. He would enjoy marinara sauce made from tomatoes in his parents’ garden and I would enjoy sauce made from canned crushed tomatoes, puree and tomato paste. I was 18 before I tried jarred sauce and did not care for it very much (it was too sweet). I think jarred sauces have come a long way, but cannot seem to sway from making my own.
My mom is a great cook, but does not know it. She loves vodka sauce, but had no desire to learn how to make it at home so she decided to try a couple of jarred ones. The few I sampled at her house were not that great. One tasted bitter and another smelled like a cross between vomit and dog food. I am not exaggerating either. The smell was so nauseating, I could not even eat it, but my parents, brother and his kids all seemed to enjoy it, so I thought it was just me.
After that, I was determined to find a jarred vodka sauce that smelled and tasted good and finally, I found it! It’s Bertolli Vodka Sauce and let me tell you, it is absolutely divine. It’s creamy and tomato-y and great for a quick meal. My husband and I like to sprinkle (or actually, POUR) on Parmesan cheese and…crushed red pepper. MMMM HMMMM!! It really kicks up the taste and gives it a little heat to contrast the creaminess of the sauce. For some protein, you could always add grilled chicken or even shrimp. Put a little parsley on top and you have a tasty and fast meal on the table in about 15 minutes from start to finish!
If you can’t find Bertolli, I would also recommend Mario Batali’s vodka sauce. That came in as a very close second. (Sorry, Mario!)