The Astronomer and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary this past April. In line with tradition, we relived our wedding banquet at Five Star Seafood Restaurant in San Gabriel and prepared something delicious inspired by antiquated anniversary gifts. Thus far in our marriage, The Astronomer has been gifted edible interpretations of Paper, Cotton, Leather, Fruit, Wood, Sugar, and Wool.
Since it is customary to bestow bronze upon one’s beloved in recognition of the eighth anniversary, I procured Italian-made bronze-cut pasta for the occasion. As its name implies, bronze-cut pasta is extruded through bronze dies. According to super-scientific articles, as well as more general consumer-facing ones:
Using bronze is actually more traditional—bronze having been around a little longer than Teflon. Bronze-cut pastas are a little coarser, a little more porous—and, thus, a better surface for sauces to cling to.
As soon as I purchased the pasta from nearby Roma Italian Deli (500 grams for $5.99), I knew the perfect recipe to test its sauce-clinging prowess: Jon & Vinny’s vodka sauce. I’m pleased to report that the bronze-cut pasta met all expectations, holding on to the rosy, silky sauce with aplomb.
Happy anniversary, Vern. Here’s to clinging together effortlessly like vodka sauce on bronze-cut pasta.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ shallot, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons vodka
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound pasta, bronze-cut preferred
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ounce finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until paste is brick red and starts to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add vodka and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add cream and red pepper flakes and stir until well blended. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Add pasta to skillet with sauce along with butter and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until butter has melted and a thick, glossy sauce has formed, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 oz. Parmesan, tossing to coat. Divide pasta among bowls, then top with basil and more Parmesan.
Years of marriage should always be marked by good food:
- Year One: Paper
- Year Two: Cotton
- Year Three: Leather
- Year Four: Fruit
- Year Five: Wood
- Year Six: Candy
- Year Seven: Wool