Linguine with Vodka and Roast Tomato Sauce

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If you have some vodka left over in the bottle, this is a good way to use it up.  Roasting the tomatoes first makes the sauce sweeter.  You could use lemon flavoured vodka too.

Serves 4


For the roast tomatoes:
16 cherry tomatoes
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce: 
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced finely
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped finely
200ml vodka
2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
400g linguine

To garnish: extra virgin olive oil, Pecorino and sprigs of thyme


1. Roast the tomatoes: place the cherry tomatoes and thyme sprigs in a baking dish, add the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Toss to coat, making sure the thyme sprigs are coated in oil and sit under the tomatoes so they don’t burn. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 160C/Gas 3 for an hour.

2. When the tomatoes are cooked, discard the thyme and squish them with a fork. In a saucepan gently fry the garlic over a low heat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the chilli until soft and fragrant. Add the vodka, turn the heat up to high and cook for 2 minutes. Add the squished roast tomatoes and the juices from the pan. Add the thyme leaves, place a lid on the saucepan and cook for 20-25 minutes over a low heat, stirring from time to time to make sure the sauce doesn’t stick. Either mash the sauce with a fork or whizz it in a blender.

3. Cook the linguine in lots of boiling salted water (the water should taste of the ocean) until al dente.  Toss in enough tomato sauce to coat. Garnish each plate of pasta with a drizzle of olive oil, shavings of Pecorino and sprigs of thyme.

Recipe variation: 
– Use basil or fresh oregano instead of thyme.

– Make double the quantity of roast tomatoes, cover them in olive oil and keep them in the fridge for up to a week. Smear them over toasted baguette, toss through warm spaghetti or eat with cured meats.

– Use 400g tinned tomatoes instead of roast tomatoes. Add them to the fried garlic and chilli with their juice, stir and cook for 40-45 minutes.


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