There’s something so comforting about pasta. It’s hearty, a cinch to make, and is best served with a mountain top full of cheese. And then we have alcohol. What’s not to love about our dear friend, alcohol? It kind of possesses the same characteristics of pasta PLUS it makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Or just plain tipsy. Anyways, mixing these two ingredients can yield dangerously delicious results.
Today I’ll be cooking with vodka, in penne a la vodka.
Penne a la vodka is a dish I don’t cook very often because 1) it is a very rich dish, 2) I hardly ever have cream in my cupboard, and, contrary to public belief, 3) I very rarely have vodka in my house. So why did I decide to make this dish? Well, I was Honey Boo Boo from Toddlers and Tiaras this past Halloween and decided that my drink of choice for the evening, keeping true to the show, would be a spiked Gogo Juice aka Red Bull (ew) and vodka (double ew – what am I, nineteen again!?). So, for once in my life, I didn’t finish my mickey (downgraded from the usual 2 6, I’m getting old) and had a little bit left which I used in this dish.
Penne a la vodka, like most pasta dishes, is a very simple recipe to make and traditionally, its main ingredients would be tomato sauce, heavy cream and vodka resulting in a rich and velvety smooth rose sauce. But since I can’t seem to follow recipes, I made my own recipe and attempted to make this a tad bit healthier.
Penne a la vodka
What you’ll need:
– 1 pkg (500g) penne
– 1 tbsp ghee, or vegetable oil
– 1/2 onion, diced
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 cup vodka
– 1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, lightly drained
– 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
– 1/2 tsp chili flakes
– 2 tsps dried oregano
– 1 tsp dried basil
– 1 tsp granulated sugar
– 2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
– 1 bay leaf
– 1/2 tsp black pepper
– 1 cup half and half
– Parmigiano reggiano (optional)
– Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
What you’ll need to do:
1. Cook pasta according to packaged directions, drain and set aside. Save a tbsp of pasta water for sauce.
2. In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, heat ghee or vegetable oil until hot. Add garlic and onions and saute until translucent. Add vodka and cook for two minutes.
3. Add the diced tomatoes and spices until boiling and decrease heat to low and allow sauce to simmer for 15 minutes before adding the tomato paste.
4. Add the cream and pasta water and cook for another ten minutes.
5. Serve on top of penne pasta with grated parmigiano reggiano and parsley. Makes 4 to 6 servings.