A Very Good Penne Alla Vodka
PASTA PASTA PASTA *HAPPY DANCE*
First pasta recipe on the blog! Finally living up to my Italian heritage.
Say "pasta" three times fast. It really does sound Italian now, doesn't it?
Now say "penne" three times fast. Starting to sound like a real Italian, you are.
Now say "penne alla vodka" once. Erm, sorry, you sound American again.
This penne alla vodka recipe lives up to all of my penne alla vodka fantasies. And by penne alla vodka fantasies I mean penne alla vodka that tastes just like the ones I get in (good) restaurants.
But when I get a rich, creamy pasta in a restaurant, I'm always up half the night with a stomachache afterwards. Always.
Story of my childhood: go to restaurant. Order penne alla vodka. Eat with relish. Go home. Contract stomachache one hour later. Spend the night in the bathroom. TMI? Sorry.
Which is why I don't really order dairy-heavy pastas in restaurants anymore. But my stomach seems to respond just fine to this homemade penne alla vodka recipe. It seems very pleased.
So do my taste buds. They seem pleased too.
I mean, let's start with the penne part. It's pasta. Who does't like pasta? So we're off to a good start already.
And then there's the sauce. It's a tomato sauce with heavy cream and parmesan cheese. No need to decide between a tomato based sauce and a cream based sauce. Penne alla vodka supplies you with both.
Plus a generous amount of vodka.
You'll start by sautéing some diced onions and minced garlic in butter. I know, it's amazing already.
And then you add in 1/2 cup of vodka. Carefully. You don't wanna burn your house down or anything. And then in goes a can of crushed tomatoes.
And then the heavy cream. And salt. And pepper. And red pepper flakes.
And lastly, some parmesan cheese. Because what's a good creamy pasta without cheese?
I also tore up some spinach to garnish my pasta with. Only because I didn't have basil or parsley or another appropriate herb on hand to sprinkle on top to make it look pretty. But the spinach ended up working quite nicely, so I regret nothing.
Ooh, and right before serving, grate some more fresh parmesan cheese over the pasta. This is not optional.
This penne alla vodka is rich. And has the perfect balance of tomato flavor to creamy, cheesy flavor. And it's easy to make. And will impress everybody.
The name of this dish alone is impressive enough. But the taste of this penne alla vodka is what really makes the crowd go wild.
And you might even get brownie points for the sense of nostalgia this dish may conjure. Or was it just me who ordered penne alla vodka every time I went to the restaurant as a kid?
I love pasta. And this penne alla vodka is the pasta I make most often. Which should say something.
This penne alla vodka is quick and easy. It's rich and creamy. It's indulgent and delicious. And it has vodka.
Dinner plans, sorted.
a very good penne alla vodka
Yield: about 8 servings
1 lb. penne pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vodka
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup shredded/grated parmesan cheese
Cook penne according the the instructions on the box.
In a wide skillet big enough to hold all the pasta and sauce, melt the butter over a medium flame.
Add in the diced onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and saute a few minutes more, or until garlic is golden.
Reduce heat and add in the vodka carefully. Simmer for few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Mix in crushed tomatoes and cook on low flame for about 15 minutes, or until liquid evaporates. Stir occasionally.
Add in the heavy cream, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Continue cooking for another 10 or so minutes. Stir frequently.
Mix in parmesan cheese, then pour pasta into sauce and toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately, garnished with grated parmesan and/or herb of choice.