Penne Alla Vodka

I’ve heard how popular this dish is and yet it took me 32 years to try it out. To think, I’m supposed to be a self-proclaimed noodle-folk. What was I thinking?!?

penne alla vodka

Penne Alla Vodka
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 cup vodka
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
salt & pepper, to taste
1 pound penne pasta
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof sauté pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.
3. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more.
4. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.
5. Drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
6. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
7. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
8. Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.
9. Reheat the sauce, add the fresh oregano and half and half. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes.
10. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Serve with shaved parmesan and fresh basil.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

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