Thursday, 7 April 2011

Vodka Sauce goes Finlandia

So here I am back home again for a while. Experiencing the gorgeous Finnish spring weather - pissing with rain and streets covered with mud and dirty remains of snow. Fantastic! I am always happy to be home though, not least because of my favourite local foods! I am really quite fussy when it comes to chocolate. There is nothing that beats the original Finnish Fazer chocolate, it is just the most delicious thing you'll ever taste! I have heard that this is because it is made with fresh milk and is one of the only ones in the world... Another favourite from my childhood, which is still very much alive in the Finnish food culture, is the karjalanpiirakka. Those of you who are natives know what I am speaking about (and some non-native devoted visitors too). It is a sort of savoury rice pudding served in a rye pastry core with egg-butter. Are you turned off? Don't be! It is the most deliciously weird thing you'll ever taste! And if you're not sure of the karjalanpiirakka, or Karelian Pie, you should still try the egg-butter on toast. It is one of the Boyfriend's favourite Finnish things!

Since the weather has been so very appalling and I have been quite let down by it, I decided to make a vodka sauce. After doing a bit of research online, apparently the vodka sauce as we know it was "invented" in the 1970's in Italy and became famous. I decided to give my vodka sauce a bit of a Finnish twist with a splash of Finlandia vodka (this blog post does indeed contain product placement).

The vodka sauce turned out quite nicely and I would definitely do it again! I served it with wholewheat linguine, grilled chicken breast, toasted pine nuts and grated grana padano. But the classic is penne alla vodka, so wholewheat penne would go really nicely. I did put semi-dried tomatoes in the sauce, but it would be ok without them too.


olive oil
2 shallot onions chopped
1 crushed garlic clove
a handful of fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
10-15 semi-dried tomatoes
500g chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
100ml water
50ml Finlandia vodka
100ml single cream
salt and black pepper

Sautée the chopped shallots, garlic, semi-dried tomatoes, basil and chili flakes in the olive oil until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and let simmer for approx. 15 minutes. Blend the sauce smooth with a hand blender and add the vodka. Let the sauce simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the the cream and salt and pepper to taste.

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