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Easy to make baked penne pasta with a tomato-alfredo vodka sauce. For fresher taste, use 2 diced Roma tomatoes instead of the canned tomatoes. As for the vodka, don't use anything too dramatic. My favorites are plain Absolut, absolut peppar, absolut citron, and the lemon smirnoff. If the vodka is flavored, only use 1 1/2 shots instead of two. Sometimes I add shrimp to add some protein to the dish, and this is how to do so: About an hour before starting the dish, coat your shrimp with olive oil. Grind black pepper over the top and drizzle lemon juice over the top. Put the shrimp in a bag and add a small amount more of all those ingredients plus a dash of balsamic vinegar and a good season of basil. Marinate for at least 30 mins, then broil for 4 minutes, turn over, another 4 minutes. Keep warm in a toaster oven until pasta is baked and add shrimp to the finished dish.
- 15 ounces dry penne pasta
- 5 tablespoons olive oil (at LEAST five tbsp.)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- red onion
- black pepper
- 1⁄2 pint half-and-half cream
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 5 -8 ounces parmesan cheese
- 2 ounces vodka (I prefer Absolut Peppar, and 2oz is about 2 shots.)
- oregano (optional)
- lemon juice (optional)
- Mince desired amount of onion (I prefer about 3 slices).
- Sauté onion in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a saucepan. Add balsamic vinegar and desired amount of pepper and basil to the olive oil before cooking the onion.
- After cooking for about 2-4 minutes, pour the half and half on top and simmer for about 7 minutes.
- Add desired amount of canned tomatoes, but be sure to pour in all of the tomato juice. (I use 3/4s of a can) Mix well and simmer for another 7 minutes.
- SLOWLY add 5 oz of parmesan cheese: Add 2 spoons full, stir until mixed, repeat until you have enough cheese to cover the top of your pasta dish.
- After cheese is mixed and melted throughout, remove the sauce from heat.
- Add the vodka to the sauce right before you begin the next step. You want the sauce to be somewhat cool to keep the alcohol from burning out, as you want this to happen while baking the dish.
- In a dish big enough to hold all the pasta (mine is around 12x6x3 in), drizzle olive oil on the bottom until the dish is lightly covered. Add a THIN layer of DRY pasta and SPOON a layer of sauce on top. For every three spoons of sauce, add one spoon of water. when the first layer is covered, add another THIN layer of pasta and repeat until running out of sauce. DO NOT SKIP THE WATER.
- When all sauce is used, the dish should be about 3/4ths full of pasta. If all of the pasta is not submerged in the sauce/water mix, add water until it is.
- Drizzle Lemon juice and sprinkle oregano over the top (optional).
- Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
- After cooking for 30 minutes, take a fork and dig to the middle and try piece of pasta, if moderatly chewy, top the dish with the rest of your Parmesan and bake for another 5-10 minutes. If if the pasta is still starchy, bake for another 5-10 minutes, then add the cheese, and bake again 10 minutes.
- Let sit out for at least 5 minutes to cool and finalize the pasta.