Just over a week ago, Katherine at the ToastPoint blog put up a post on Penne alla vodka. Oh Yeah! I have made variations of this decadent dish over the years, no matter how it is made, it is always a pleasure to have.
For those who haven't had or made Penne alla Vodka, it is 1) penne and 2) a very simple tomato sauce with a touch of 3) cream and 4) vodka. The tomato and cream make a velvety sauce that coats your mouth with a full lusciousness that is to die for. Adding the vodka kicks up a natural heat level, warming your lips, throat and belly.
Below is the recipe as found on ToastPoint!
Penne alla Vodka
(adapted from Nigella Lawson's "Feast")
Put on a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
In another heavy-bottomed pan, warm over medium heat:
2 Tablespoons garlic oil (or 2 Tablespoons olive oil with minced garlic)
One large onion
A pinch of salt
Add to the oil and cook until soft and just beginning to caramelize, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
2 14 ounce cans chopped tomatoes
Cook over medium-low heat for another 15-20 minutes.
2 Tablespoons heavy cream, or 1 1/2 Tablespoons creme fraiche
Stir to combine, then remove from heat.
When the water boils, add:
A pinch of salt
1 lb. penne or other similar pasta (I used rigatoni)
Cook until very al dente, then drain and return to the pan.
1/2 cup vodka
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
I know it seems odd to add that much vodka to your pasta, but it really works. If you're squeamish, you can add the vodka to the tomato sauce to cook off the alcohol, you wimp. Stir until the pasta is coated and strangely fragrant buttery vodka fumes begin to rise enticingly from the pan. Tip in the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
Serve immediately, with grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top.
NOTES FROM SCOTT:
Tonight when I made this, I only had 1 can of tomatoes, so I 1/2 everything else. I also only had "mini penne." No worries. All was good. For a touch more added heat, I added a pinch of red pepper flakes with the onions in the very beginning. I used two garlic cloves, minced, added with the onions as well.
When my pasta was done, I drained it, put it back in the pot and added the butter. I then took the sauce, as prepared above, quickly stirred in the vodka, then poured it into the pasta. I did this just to make sure the sauce was evenly stirred together, then allowing it to evenly coat the pasta.
Next time I make this, given the advanced planning, I would see about getting some fresh basil to add in at the last minute, just for a little something extra! But as it, it's perfect!