No doubt you have had this dish at any one of thousands of Italian restaurants around the world. It really is quite simple once you have prepared the sauce. You can use canned tomatoes, but in this case I used 2 larger fresh tomatoes, NOT plum. I simply chopped them up. One thing of note – do NOT use more than 3 – 4 tablespoons of vodka, as it will leave the dish bitter…
Penne alla Vodka
- 28 oz. whole plum tomatoes, undrained OR 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 3-4 Tablespoons vodka
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons cold butter
- Salt/Pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. Penne
- Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Puree the tomatoes in a blender, food mill, or an immersion blender and set aside. You can decide how chunky or uniform you’d like the tomatoes to be. I simply chopped them up!
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the basil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and softened.
Turn off the heat.
Add the vodka to the pan and let it sizzle. Turn the heat back to medium and reduce the vodka until there is about a Tablespoon left.
Add the pureed tomatoes and let it simmer for 45 minutes or so, allowing it to reduce and become quite thick.
During the last 12 minutes or so, cook the penne according to package instructions. For saucier pasta, use ¾ lb. instead of the full pound. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.
Add the heavy cream and the red pepper flakes to the sauce.
Add 2 Tablespoons cold butter to the sauce, along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir to combine.
Season with salt/pepper if desired.
Add in the drained pasta.
Garnish with roughly chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!