Spicy… Cheesy… Boozy… Robust. This Penne Alla Vodka is all this and more! Make this pasta for dinner tonight!
I have a confession to make. I’ve been stalking Donald Trump’s twitter account almost daily. Stalking the way you stalk an ex. THAT ex. You were super involved in an awfully dramatic relationship. A relationship that ended badly and you totally hate that guy. You went through the relationship stages of grief, doubled back, landed on hatred – And opted to stay a while. He hurt you, you hurt him, but he hurt you more.
It was a hot mess, yet you feel compelled to peek around his social media every couple of days to make sure he’s super unhappy without you. And he is so happy without you. And though it hurts your soul, you stalk his social media looking for that scrap of validation. Patiently waiting for the one day he posts how miserable he is.
Sigh… This is what I’ve lowered myself to and I can’t seem to stop stalking. And it makes me angry because on Twitter Donald Trump is having the best weeks ever. He’s insulting union leaders, tooting his own horn. He’s in his element.
Ugh… I need some comfort food. I need to go PacMan on a bowl of pasta.
Flow with me. Let’s talk about this Vodka Sauce. We’re in the “boozing our solids” stage of grief now.
I’ve been making this vodka sauce for maaaybe six years. It was actually the very first pasta sauce I learned to make. Not marinara – That was second. Vodka sauce was first. Its complex robust flavors were something I felt I had to master.
And I did.
Vodka sauce is pretty simple to make. You sweat onions and garlic. Add an insane amount of basil and parsley, followed by a chicken or veggie stock.
A spicy vodka.
So much vodka. But don’t worry, the booze cooks. You’re left with minimal booze content and a deliciously boozy flavor.
Tomatoes, tomato sauce. You simmer and these flavors marry and procreate in your pot. Your house smells unbelievable. The kind of unbelievable that makes neighbors want to knock on your door, but because you’re super unfriendly they sniff wistfully.
Then comes the Parmesan. So much Parmesan. I grate a small mountain of it. You can never have too much nutty Parmesan. The sauce is finished with heavy cream for that salmon colored hue. I allow the sauce to reduce while I boil a cool pound of Penne and bake a garlic bread so strong you need a couple of breath neutralizing tablets; otherwise you’ll be fire-breathing garlic for three days.
Comfort food is what this Penne alla Vodka is. Pure comfort.
Now get your sauce on.
I have a little stalker problem I need help with.
Possibly a support group.
And more boozy pasta.
Penne Alla Vodka
- Vodka - ¾ cup
- Crushed red pepper flakes - ½ - ¾ teaspoons
- Olive oil - 2 tablespoons
- Spanish or white onion, finely diced - 1 medium
- Garlic cloves, minced - 5 large
- Fresh parsley, chopped - 2 ½ tablespoons
- Fresh basil, chopped - ¼ cup
- Vegetable broth or stock - 1 cup
- Plum tomatoes, with juice - 1 (28 ounce) can
- Tomato sauce - 2 (8 ounce) cans
- Water - 8 ounces (1 cup)
- Heavy cream - 1- 1 ¼ cup
- Finely grated Parmesan cheese - 1 ¼ cup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Penne pasta cooked al dente, according to package directions - 1 pound
In a small bowl, combine vodka and red pepper flakes. Set aside for 15-30 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add parsley and basil. Cook about 2 minutes stirring frequently.
Reduce the heat to low. Pour the vodka and chicken broth over the aromatics and simmer for 10 minutes.
Crush tomatoes (with your hands) into the pot, add the tomato sauce, and the water. Simmer on low for 15 more minutes.
Add the grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Cook until slightly reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup heavy cream, and cook 1 more minute. Puree with an immersion hand blender or in a regular blender.
Pour over cooked penne, garnish with parsley, basil, and enjoy!
Notes: Makes about 2 quarts. You can refrigerate it for about 3 days in a tightly sealed container. Or, you can portion out this sauce and freeze it for about a month.