Penne alla vodka
photo by spatchcock
- Ready In:
- 1 (35 ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, with liquid
- 1 lb penne
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled
- crushed hot red pepper
- 1⁄4 cup vodka
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or 2 tablespoons olive oil, for finishing the sauce,if you like
- 2 -3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 3⁄4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for passing if you like
- Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.
- Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the work bowl of a food processor.
- Using quick on/off pulses, process the tomatoes just until they are finely chopped.
- (Longer processing will aerate the tomatoes, turning them pink.) Stir the penne into the boiling water.
- Bring the water back to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the hot oil.
- Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Lower the work bowl with the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully slide the tomatoes into the pan.
- Bring to a boil, season lightly with salt and generously with crushed red pepper, and boil 2 minutes.
- Pour in the vodka, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer, and simmer until the pasta is ready.
- Just before the pasta is done, fish the garlic cloves out of the sauce and pour in the cream.
- Add the 2 tablespoons butter or oil, if using, and swirl the skillet to incorporate into the sauce.
- If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, fish the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and drop it directly into the sauce in the skillet.
- If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour in the sauce.
- Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce.
- Check the seasoning, adding salt and red pepper if necessary.
- Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta and boil until the sauce is reduced enough to cling to the pasta.
- Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle 3/4 cup of the cheese over the pasta, and toss to mix.
- Serve immediately, passing additional cheese if you like.
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