Valentino sauce is a traditional farfalle pasta sauce. Italian chefs that came directly from Italy, to restaurants that I was working in, knew what Valentino sauce was. I am not sure whether Valentino sauce was a New York Italian creation or not.
Valentino sauce is always made to order and it is never supposed to be made ahead of time. I have seen many modern chefs forget to add the small amount of tomato at the start of the sauce. Vodka and cream is not a Valentino sauce. Vodka sauce is the same thing as Valentino sauce. Chefs that serve a vodka cream sauce as vodka sauce do not understand what Valentino sauce is all about. Vodka cream sauce tastes like plain cream! Vodka has no detectable flavor when cooked!
Valentino sauce is Vodka, tomato and cream with very little seasoning. The trick to making Valentino sauce is to flambe the small amount of tomato sauce in the pan to create a lightly caramelized tomato flavor. Then the cream or thin besciamella sauce is added and the sauce is reduced to the proper consistency. The light light caramelization of the tomato increases the rich flavor of tomato, just like using the French pincer technique to caramelize tomato paste for making espagnole sauce.
Only enough tomato is added for the start of a Valentino sauce to turn the sauce a light pink color. The word Valentino refers to the world's greatest lover, Rudolph Valentino from the early 1900's. Valentino sauce is meant to be a ladies sauce, but men like this sauce too. Because of the association of the name of this pasta with the sex symbol Rudolph Valentino, this entree is usually served on Valentines Day at romantic Italian restaurants. Thats amore!
Farfalle Valentino with Salmon and Artichoke Recipe:
Farfalle take about 10 minutes to be cooked al dente. The sauce can be made in the same amount of time as it takes to cook the pasta! At the finest Italian restaurants that I worked in, we cooked every pasta to order or a la minute!
Cook 1 portion of farfalle pasta in boiling water.
Gently stir the pasta occasionally, so it does no stick.
Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
Add 1/2 of a minced garlic clove.
Saute till the garlic turns a golden color.
Add 2 1/2 ounces of imported Italian canned plum tomato puree. (Italian tomatoes are the best! Good canned Italian tomato products require very little cooking time and they are not acidic.)
Add sea salt and 1 small pinch of black pepper.
Add 1 minced basil leaf.
Gently saute for about 1 minute, till the tomato sauce becomes aromatic.
Add 1/3 cup of vodka.
Flambe the sauce.
Allow the burning alcohol to lightly singe the small amount of tomato sauce in the pan.
Add 1 cup of cream. (Besciamella sauce is more traditional!)
Note: I have posted recipes for besciamella sauce (bechamel sauce) several times in this blog. Besciamella sauce is white roux, milk, cream, sea salt and white pepper. Onion can be added, but then the sauce must be strain. a tiny pinch of nutmeg is optional. A thin besciamella sauce has a thin cream sauce consistency. After being further reduced to order, a besciamella has a medium thin cream sauce consistency that clings to pasta nicely.
Reducing cream is easier for making a Valentino sauce, but it makes for a much richer sauce. A good besciamella sauce is a little bit lighter on the tummy and it has a better body or consistency to begin with. The Valentino sauce in the photographs was made with cream and not besciamella sauce, so I left the besciamella recipe off of this page.
Simmer and reduce the sauce, till becomes a very thin cream sauce consistency.
Add 3 ounces of thin sliced salmon filet pieces.
Add 4 to 5 blanched fresh artichoke heart halves or canned artichoke hearts that are cut in half.
Note: For this salmon and artichoke version of the Valentino sauce, poaching the salmon in the sauce is a good method to use. The thin slices of salmon cook quickly. Do not stir the sauce after adding the salmon or the salmon pieces will break apart!
Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin cream sauce consistency.
Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.
By now, the farfalle pasta should be cooked al dente.
Drain the water off of the farfalle pasta.
Add the portion of al dente cooked farfalle pasta to the sauce.
Gently toss the sauce and pasta together.
Place the Farfalle Valentino with Salmon and Artichoke on plate.
Sprinkle just a tiny amount of finely grated parmesan cheese over the pasta.
Garnish with a basil sprig.
I have cooked Valentino Sauce in many Italian restaurants and the flambe liquor is always vodka. Vodka imparts very little flavor to the sauce, but the flambe technique does add a nice quick caramelized edge to the tomato sauce base. That means a boost in flavor! Delicious! Ciao Baby! ... Shawna