Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Penne Alla Vodka

Penne alla vodka is one of my favorite Italian dishes.  Favorite anything dishes I suppose.  I order it at my favorite restaurant (Il Giardino in Virginia Beach) and have been doing so for about a dozen years.  That is dedication!  I love regular marinara sauces too, but the richness and depth of flavor in penna alla vodka is just amazing.  This version is super simple and tastes great.  Next time I might add less cream (because that's how I prefer my version), though 1/4 cup isn't much anyway.

Okay so this looks like a lot of ingredients, but it really is an easy recipe.  You need heavy cream, chicken broth, penne pasta, vodka, olive oil, butter, kosher salt, pepper, crushed tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and basil.

Hello, vodka, we have not been friends since college. 

Heating using a medium flame one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet.  Okay, mine is more medium than large.  I halved the recipe since it was for 2 people, but I'll be discussing the 4 person version here. 

Throw in 2 minced shallots and cook for 3 minutes. 

Add in 2 minced garlic cloves and saute for another minute. 

It's starting to smell good in here!

Add 1 cup of vodka to the pan and stir. 

Allow the vodka to simmer and reduce by half, which takes about 3 minutes.  This is for the best - no drunken noodles. 

Add 1 cup chicken stock.

And then add one 32 oz. can of crushed tomatoes.

Stir to combine, because it looked gross with the tomatoes just sitting there.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper.  While sauce simmers, cook your penne pasta.

When pasta is ready, add in 1/2 cup heavy cream. 

Stir to combine and watch your sauce turn orange!  When sauce returns to a boil, remove from heat and toss with pasta. 

Serve with fresh basil on top and you'll never look at boring marinara the same way again.  We used whole wheat pasta I think, because clearly that makes this a health food.

Penne Alla Vodka

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 oz)
Kosher salt and pepper
16 oz penne pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add in one tablespoon olive oil and one tablespoon butter.  Stir in 2 minced shallots and saute for 3 minutes.  Add in 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for another minute.  Add in 1 cup vodka and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken stock and 1 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Season with kosher salt and pepper.  While sauce simmers, cook penne pasta.  Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a simmer, remove from heat. Toss pasta with sauce and top with fresh chopped basil. 

1 comment:

  1. I made this tonight. It turned out delicious! I added chicken breast for some protein. Thanks for the pictures you included above.


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