Penne a la Vodka

On tonight’s menu — Penne a la Vodka.

I know what you’re saying … Another recipe?!

But when I was making it tonight, I knew I had to share it with you. This dish is a classic in my book and it’s SO delicious. The recipe is based on one from Phillis Carey, from whom I took a “Taste of Italy” cooking class at Great News Cooking School.

Penne a la Vodka is simple, yet very elegant (how could it not be with a name like a la vodka). This is a great dish to make for company, or if you’re craving delicious Italian food for yourself. It’s filling enough for a meal by itself; or serve it as a side with something like Parmesan chicken. Enjoy this Italian classic.

We’ll be back to our regularly-scheduled Leah’s Thoughts blog programming soon.

Penne a la Vodka

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. butter

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 small shallot, minced (use onion if you don’t have a shallot)

1 cup vodka

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 32-oz. can crushed tomatoes

Pinch of red pepper flakes (it brings out the spice in the vodka — really!)

Salt and Pepper

1 pound penne, rigatoni or other tube-like pasta (cooked and drained)

1/2 cup heavy cream (don’t omit this!)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil (I use dry when I don’t have fresh)

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Add shallots and garlic and saute until tender. Add the vodka and let it boil down to about half.

Add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer until the sauce reduces and thickens.

Stir the cream into the sauce and return to low simmer. Remove from heat.

Add the cooked pasta, Parmesan cheese and basil. Stir all together. I let it sit for about 5 – 10 minutes to let the sauce further thicken and absorb into the pasta.

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