Monday, August 29, 2011

Penne Alla Vodka

So, this is most definitely one of my favorite dishes in the world.
Place it in front of me at any time and I will devour it.
(then promptly get myself another bowl)

It’s rich and creamy and comforting.

Basically, it’s perfection.

I had a sudden urge to make this when something else was on the menu and sent my husband out into the night to buy vodka just so I could have this dish. Thank God there is no last call in Nevada. Because sometimes, this pasta just can't wait. It is totally that good. 

I urge you to seriously consider putting all other plans on hold, going forth into the night (or morning, or afternoon, whatever) to find vodka and make this dish right NOW.

Penne Alla Vodka
adapted from Cooks Illustrated Best-Ever Recipes (December 2010)

makes 4-6 servings

1 (28 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes*
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup minced onion
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. sea salt, plus more for finishing
1/3 cup vodka (it doesn’t have to be Grey Goose, but it shouldn’t come in a plastic bottle)
½ cup heavy cream
1 pound penne
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is light golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the tomatoes and salt. Remove from heat to add the vodka. Cook over medium-high heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the alcohol flavor has cooked off, about 8 to 10 minutes. (You can lower the heat if the simmering becomes too vigorous and messy). Stir in the heavy cream and cook until hot, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until almost al dente. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water before draining pasta and returning to pot. Stir in the sauce and toss to combine. Add reserved water as necessary to achieve a good consistency (I almost never need to use the cooking water). Stir in the basil and season with additional salt to taste (sometimes I also add a bit of freshly ground black pepper to finish the dish). Serve with plenty of fresh grated parmesan.

*The original recipe calls for a can of whole tomatoes, draining them, pureeing some of them and chopping some of them and adding liquid back in to achieve some extraordinary tomato sauce…I’ve been there and done that and let me tell you, crushed tomatoes are not only a million times easier, but they make the consistency of the sauce better too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...