Thursday, April 21, 2011

Penne alla Vodka

Well, my husband officially told me last night that this is his new favorite dish.  Not surprising - it contains pasta, vodka, and cream.  How could it not be??!

If you haven't noticed by now, I usually make a pasta meal at least once a week.  They're easy, versatile, and virtually fail-proof.  They also make perfect leftovers.  When we have the time, we use homemade noodles.  We usually make a large batch and freeze them for future use.  We are due for another since the freezer has been empty now for the past month or so.  I do highly recommend making your own pasta.  We usually crack open a bottle of wine, turn up the Italian tunes, and go to town.  I make the dough, hubby rolls and cuts, then I hang the pasta to dry.  We have our own somewhat chaotic process, but one thing is for sure - it's relaxing, puts us in a good mood, and reminds us that we really are a good team together.  Just make sure you have one of these on hand:

On to last night's dinner.  Years ago I had made this dish and remember it being quite good.   There are a ton of different recipes out there for Penne alla Vodka but I came up with my own, using the staples (pancetta, vodka, and cream) as a starting point.  It turned out fantastic - was pretty hard to stop eating this one!  I had to physically remove the remaining pasta after my husband's third bowl....not sure his waistline is too happy today...ahem.  But it was so worth it.  Pasta, vodka, and cream - if you're not on this gravy train you're missing out!


Penne alla Vodka
Recipe by A Toast to Taste

Ingredients Needed:
1 Tbsp butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup pancetta, diced
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup vodka
1 Tbsp dried basil (use fresh if you have it)
pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

finely grated parmessan cheese

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots, cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, followed by the pancetta.  Stir to combine and cook for a good 5 minutes.  Season with crushed red pepper flakes.  Pour in tomatoes, vodka, basil and stir well to combine.  Season with pepper.  I did not add any salt because the pancetta is already pretty salty.  Let sauce simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add cream, cook for another 5 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to instructions on box and drain.  Add pasta to sauce in skillet, mix well.  Transfer to serving dish.  Top with parmessan and enjoy!

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