They say that necessity is the mother of invention. I can vouch for that.
Pasta alla Pomegranate Vodka with Bacon (yes, you read that right) was born the evening I couldn’t find the plain vodka. My husband was out of town, I was all set to try my idea for pasta alla vodka with bacon, and I found myself staring at the liquor shelf for 20 minutes.
How could the vodka be all gone?
I did find peanut butter vodka (which in theory, sounds like the greatest invention known to woman, but in reality, not so much) and Stoli White Pomegranate Vodka. It was decision time.
I either had to figure out something else for dinner or give the pomegranate vodka a try. I knew it might be weird (and maybe okay at best), but oh my, it was wonderful!
My daughter and I enjoyed our meal so much. (Don’t worry, most of the alcohol evaporates.)
Still, I wondered what had happened to the regular vodka. It turns out, my husband stores it in the freezer.
That’s where I had seen it! And how come we never learned that vodka doesn’t freeze back in Honors Chemistry in Catholic high school? Oh wait…never mind.
Hearing this story, my husband was eager to try my pasta alla vodka with bacon, feeling he had missed out. So, I agreed to make it again, but thought I should be more “normal” and use regular vodka.
My husband thought it was good, but my daughter and I were just…unimpressed. The sauce had a strong alcohol taste, unlike the pomegranate version with its mild, slightly fruity overtone. (I swear, it’s just a hint, and no one will be able to guess the secret ingredient.)
So, I decided then and there that there’s no going back. I made my Pasta alla Pomegranate Vodka with Bacon again, this time using shallots instead of garlic and onions, and my whole family agreed it was incredibly delicious.
In fact, my daughter has asked me to teach her how to make it, so she can cook dinner for her boyfriend. (I knew she’d want to cook someday!)
I’m thrilled to share this recipe with her, and all of you.
You can buy a travel-size bottle of pomegranate vodka if you don’t have any, or experiment with adding pomegranate juice to plain vodka (I haven’t tried it.)
If you’ve never used shallots, they look like small brown onions on the outside. When you peel them, you will find clusters of purple cloves.
They taste like mild onions, yet sweeter, and almost melt when sautéed. The result is delicious flavor without noticeable chunks. I love them in pasta dishes.
(Recipe Source: Cooking with Mamma C. I have no affiliation with Stoli.)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium-to-large shallot (chopped)
- 1/3 cup pomegranate vodka (I used Stoli White Pomegranate(
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (I like Tuttorosso)
- 1/2 cup whipping cream (liquid)
- 6 strips of lean bacon (cooked in microwave and cut into small pieces with scissors)
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (grated)
- salt for cooking pasta (plus salt to taste)
- 1 pound penne pasta (or ziti)
- Cook the bacon in the microwave until it's just done and no longer pink. (Wash your hands after touching any raw bacon.) While the bacon is cooking, peel and chop one whole shallot. When the bacon is done, blot it with paper towels and cut the bacon into 3/4-inch pieces.
- Heat a large skillet on medium-high. Add oil and butter and stir to melt the butter. Add shallots. Cook until tender. Stir in the vodka and let it cook for 3 minutes to reduce. Stir in crushed tomatoes and the bacon. Put the heat on low and add cream. Stir to combine. Add about 3/4 teaspoon black pepper. Let the sauce cook on low for 20 minutes, adding cheese during the last five minutes. After the cheese is added, taste for salt. Salt lightly if needed.
- While the sauce is cooking, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil with about a teaspoon of salt. About 10 minutes before the sauce is done, add pasta to the boiling water. Cook the pasta until al dente (check it three minutes before the al dente time listed on the package.) Drain the pasta. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the sauce and stir to combine.
- Serve with extra grated Parmesan at the table.
You can buy a travel-size bottle of pomegranate vodka if you don't have any, or experiment with adding pomegranate juice to plain vodka (I haven't tried it.)
If you've never used shallots, they look like small brown onions on the outside. When you peel them, you will find clusters of purple cloves. They taste like mild onions, yet sweeter, and almost melt when sautéed. The result is delicious flavor without noticeable chunks.