Penne alla Vodka sounds fancy but this restaurant style pasta takes only minutes to prepare at home. The vodka adds a nice zing to the rich creamy tomato sauce.
1 pound penne pasta
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup vodka
1 3/4 cups pureed tomatoes (passata)
1/2 cup to 1 cup whipping cream (35%)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Hot pepper flakes, to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan, to taste
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh diced tomatoes, to garnish (optional)
1 tbsp. chopped parsley, to garnish
Bring large pot of boiling water to a boil. Generously salt. Add pasta and cook until al dente. If using peas, just before draining the pasta, add the peas, they will cook with the residual heat.
Meanwhile, in skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. Add garlic and cook until softens and turns lightly golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add oregano and hot pepper flakes. Remove pan from heat and add vodka. Return pan back to heat and let vodka reduce for 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato puree and bring to a boil. Add cream and reduce to simmer, let simmer, until sauce thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add pasta. Add some of pasta water to loosen, if needed. Toss to combine. Finish with freshly grated Parmesan. Garnish with diced tomatoes and chopped parsley, if desired.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.