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Penne alla Vodka

This is a recipe I discovered sometime last year and I have been making it over and over again since.  It’s easy yet has the satisfying creamy/garlicky goodness that I obsess over (and reheats well too- always a bonus).  Sprinkle some basil and some cheese on top and you have a gourmet meal!  I have also added diced/cooked chicken to this, which my dad actually prefers.  This is a recipe that will stay in the dinner rotation for a very long while- it’s just that good!  I hope you like it as much as we do!

Penne alla Vodka

(original source)

What you’ll need:

  • 10 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, plus the liquid
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 pound gluten-free penne
  • A few fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I only had some graded Parmesan this time)

What to do:

  • Prepare the pasta according to package directions.
  • Peel the garlic cloves and lightly smash each clove using the back of your chef’s knife.
  • Warm a medium skillet over medium heat; add the oil. When the oil swirls with the consistency of water, add the garlic and sauté, for three minutes or so, until lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor or using a handheld blender, lightly pulse the tomatoes in their juice until they’re crushed but not puréed .
  • Add the tomatoes to the skillet, bring to barely a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  • Add the vodka, add the salt and crushed red peppers, and simmer over low for 15-20 minutes.
  • Just before the pasta is done, are ready, add the cream to the tomato sauce and continue to simmer just a few minutes more, moving the heat to medium low, until the cream has warmed up. You can scoop out some or all of the garlic or you can smash it with a spoon if you’d like more than a hint of garlic.
  • Serve the pasta in individual pasta bowls and add generous ladles of sauce to each bowl. Snip a few basil leaves over every dish, and pass with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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