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Penne alla Vodka

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Level: Easy

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Description

Penne alla Vodka is an Italian-American classic. Vodka sauce is the quintessential tomato cream sauce, in my opinion. In my version of this sauce, I first cook down onions low and slow to develop flavor and sweetness. Garlic, tomato paste, and of course vodka all come into play here, too. Good quality San Marzano tomatoes are another major component of the sauce. And you obviously can’t forget the cream and cheese!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Penne Pasta
  • ¼ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • ¼ cups Vodka
  • 28 ounces, weight Canned Whole Peeled, San Marzano Tomatoes
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream

Preparation

Warm a large sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add oil, followed by the onions, and season with salt. Maintain heat over low to medium-low, and cook until onions are sweet and caramelized with little to no color, about 40–60 minutes.

Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté about 30 seconds; do not brown the garlic. Add tomato paste, increase heat to medium and sauté 5–7 minutes, or until paste slightly deepens in color. Stir in vodka and reduce to about 1 tablespoon.

Add canned tomatoes, season with salt, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover and cook about 45–60 minutes, or until sauce is thickened and developed in flavor. Adjust seasoning, as needed.

Transfer sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Return sauce to the pot. Stir in cream and taste again for seasoning.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. The water should taste like salt water. After the sauce is ready, boil the pasta one minute short of al dente. Add the pasta to the sauce pot and toss to coat. Garnish with basil and serve with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Enjoy.

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