Penne Alla Vodka
This super simple pasta post has been a long time coming. I have shared it on my stories and I always get so many comments and questions about it so I decided to post the recipe for it on the blog where it can always be referenced.
We make this at least once a week. Usually on a Thursday when I’m super exhausted from a 10 hour straight day of cleaning teeth. My brain is also zapped by the end of that day and has no capacity for creativity when it comes to trying to figure out what to make for dinner. As a result this is a solid go to for me!
It requires so little effort and time but does not sacrifice flavour. I totally need comfort food after a long day like that and this, a glass of wine and a side salad and I’m fully comforted and on my way to a full recovery from the day.
It’s creamy, saucy, full of chewy bits of bacon and the fresh basil just pulls all the flavours together making it a perfect quick meal! I love the rosé sauce with that little unique edge given to it by the vodka. Serving it with a little crusty bread is always recommended to make sure you mop up every last drop of that luscious sauce.
Penne alla vodka always reminds me of my brother. I can talk about him because the likelihood of him ever reading this post is the same as the likelihood of me attending the Oscars. Every time we would go out for Italian penne alla vodka was always what he would order - he got me hooked on it and I have never lost the love.
We are both super good eaters thanks to my mom force feeding us as children (she doesn’t read my blog either so no worries there). Love her to death but she is your typical Greek mom who always feels the need to feed you and I love her for it. My thighs do not on the other hand. I have and always have had a voracious appetite thanks to her, and thanks to my father I have a wicked fast metabolism that is significantly slowing down as I approach my 40th year thus my thighs crying out.
Anyways the point of all that is so that you understand that when I say I can eat the entire serving of this meal - it is no lie. Have I? A girl never tells.. heehee. It is that good though and is simple to whip up at home without the need to go out and have it made and have to pay for it along with tax and tip (my dad gave me his metabolism but also handed down his cheapness – which he calls frugality)! So my tip is make it at home and enjoy an evening in!
- ¼ pound spaghetti
- ¼ cup reserved cooking water from pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- ¼ pound bacon, pancetta or sausage, removed from the casing and crumbled or chopped
- 1 onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
- A pinch of crushed chili pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons vodka
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and more chopped fresh basil, for garnish
- Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove a ¼ cup of cooking water and set aside. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced bacon and cook, stirring, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the onions, and chili pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until thick, about 2 minutes.
- Add the vodka and cook until the sauce reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes then stir in the cream and cook until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Stir in the basil and remove from the heat.
- Toss the sauce with the pasta to coat adding a bit of the reserved cooking water to get the desired texture.
- Season well with salt and pepper and serve immediately topped with cheese and more fresh basil
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse