This time last week, I embarked on an epic adventure – Lasagna Alla Vodka.
Sure, you’ve seen penne alla vodka before, and I’ll bet you have a favorite recipe for lasagna too. Now combine the two and we’re onto something big.
The BF and I are big fans of both, and the BF might be the biggest pasta fan out there.
In an attempt to make this something really special to kick off his birthday celebrations, I spent all of last Sunday cooking like crazy. Today I present to you the first step in this beautiful meal.
Part 1: Prepare tomatoes
Time to completion: 45 minutes
I was inspired by this mish-mash of images that Buzzfeed took from around the interwebs, so I roughly followed their instructions to poach and peel my own whole roma tomatoes, a feature ingredient in every quality vodka sauce out there.
The good news: it worked! And it was easy!
The bad news: this adds a considerable amount of time to your lasagna making. If you start with this step in the recipe, be prepared to add an additional 30-45 minutes of prep-time. It is slightly more cost-effective to do so when tomatoes are in season, and will create a creamier sauce that will save you a few calories along the way since you will need to add less heavy cream to the finished product.
To begin with – gather tomatoes and prepare a large bowl of iced water to blanch your tomatoes. Start a large pot of unsalted water to boil. There should be enough water to full submerge the tomatoes. For my recipe, I used 15 roma tomatoes, or about 2.5 pounds worth.
Next, core and score all of your tomatoes. Don’t worry about scooping out all of the seeds; they will cook down and puree later. Just remove the stem for now. For scoring, you can make a deep cut across, or actually score the skin lightly, whichever is easy for you to handle.
Working in batches, place tomatoes in the boiling water. I was able to fit about 5 at a time. Boil until the skin begins to crack in such a way that it will be easy to peel, or for up to 1 minute.
Once the cracks are visible in some of the tomatoes, dunk the tomatoes into the cold water for 1-2 minutes.
Peel the tomatoes with a paring knife or your fingers (or a combination of both!) and place in the medium bowl.
Break apart the tomatoes gently with your hands, using caution not to spray tomato juice all over your kitchen like I did.
Set aside while you continue with your sauce.
Part 1 = complete!
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming tomorrow: Making the Sauce!
Ingredients: 2.5 pounds roma tomatoes
- Fill a larg bowl with ice water.
- Boil water in large pot, using enough water to cover the tomatoes.
- Core the stem of each tomato, and score the bottom of the skin with a large “X”
- Working in batches, boil as many tomatoes as can be submerged in the water for up to a minute, or until the skin begins to peel back from the tomatoes.
- Move boiled tomatoes to the ice water bath to blanch the tomatoes.
- Allow tomatoes to cool 1-2 minutes.
- Peel tomatoes gently with a paring knife or with hands.
- Repeat with all of the tomatoes.
- Crush tomatoes in half to break open for juices.