Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Penna alla Vodka

This was really good. Really fattening. But really good. and that's all I have to say today :)

Penne alla Vodka
Source: Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Bastianich
Printable Recipe

One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) with their liquid
1 pound penne
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled (I use a lot less, maybe 2-3)
crushed hot red pepper (to taste) (I used about 2 pinches)
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream (I use less, a bout 1/3)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil for finishing the sauce (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.

Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the work bowl of a food processor. Using quick on/off pulses, process the tomatoes just until they are finely chopped. (Longer processing will aerate the tomatoes, turning them pink.)

Stir the penne into the boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the hot oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Lower the work bowl with the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully (they'll splatter) slide the tomatoes into the pan. Bring to a boil, season with salt and with crushed red pepper to taste (you can always add more it needed!) and boil about 2 minutes. Pour in the vodka, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer, and simmer until the pasta is ready.

Just before the pasta is done, take the garlic cloves out of the sauce and pour in the cream. Add the 2 tablespoons butter or oil, if using, and carefully swirl the skillet to incorporate into the sauce. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, take the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer or a small strainer and drop it carefully into the sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt and red pepper if necessary. Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta and boil until the sauce is reduced enough to cling to the pasta.

Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle the cheese over the pasta, and toss to mix. Serve immediately, serve with additional cheese if you like.

My note - Sometimes I add a little pancetta or prosciutto, about 1/4 lb. sliced thin and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, to the sauce. Saute it with the garlic.


  1. You know, it's a little dangerous following my foodie friends around.

    Earlier today, I drooled over Suzy's Sopapillas (made with beer). Then, I come here to find your really awesome Penne alla Vodka!

    Good thing I can hold my liquor, because, oh! the repercussions...

    ..."No, really occifer, I only had one bowl."

  2. Looks great...I have a friend that just raved about the vodka sauce, so I had to give it a try but for some reason I just didn't care for it.

  3. I love making pasta and have never tried a sauce with vodka. This is a must try.

  4. I'm a pasta girl, and that does sound good Carol!

  5. We are pasta crazy, so any which way, we love it! But I have not used heavy cream and vodka together. We will try this!

  6. One of my favorite pasta sauces! It looks so good I could eat the computer screen :-D

  7. Call Guiness! That's all you are saying, LOL..
    Looks very good, I could polish off a bowl even though we just had dinner!

  8. This is my absolute favorite pasta dish! Looks delicious, Carol.

  9. Aren't you getting fancy!!! I have reason to believe you probably added more vodka than the recipe states!
    Looks delish..

  10. Sam's used to have a vodka pasta sauce that I used to buy (when I still had a metabolism). This recipe sounds wonderful for when we have the family!

  11. There is a restaurant around the corner from my house called Cafe Mondiali that does a vodka pasta. I think you may have just recreated it. It does sound so good! I've printed this recipe! Thanks.


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