Posted by: Maggie
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Annie makes amazing penne alla vodka. I've been asking her to blog about it ever since we started A Bitchin' Kitchen, but she's oddly protective of the recipe and refuses. Generally I despise food that is not at its intended temperature - for example, I'd rather eat boogers than cold pizza or cold fried chicken, but I actually ate a bowl of cold penne alla vodka while visiting her in Philly last fall. It's just that stinkin' good.
Anyway, since Annie is keeping her recipe on lockdown, I was forced to find another version to satisfy me. I turned to The Curvy Carrot, since I enjoyed the Pasta Puttanesca recipe that I got from her site earlier this year so much. Fortunately, her penne alla vodka recipe was also perfect, and I loved that it contained a generous portion of red pepper flakes. The added spice just made one of my favorite pasta dishes even better!
Here's what you'll need:
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 pound penne pasta (I recommend making the whole box if you like your pasta less saucy)
Fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
Set up a large pot of water to boil while you start the sauce.
Divide your can of tomatoes into two halves. Place one half in a food processor, and puree until smooth. Chop the remaining tomatoes into small pieces, and set aside. Combine your pureed tomatoes, and chopped tomatoes to equal 2 cups. Add the reserved juice to get to a full 2 cups if necessary.
In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook for about 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add in minced garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and salt.
Remove pan from heat, and add vodka. Return the pan to the heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, cook your pasta. At this point your water should be boiling. Add in pasta, and cook according to package directions.
After sauce has cooked for 8-10 minutes and reduced slightly, stir in the cream, and cook until heated through. Add the cooked and drained penne to the sauce, and stir to combine. Add additional salt to taste, and top with fresh basil.
Source: The Curvy Carrot / Cooks Illustrated