Pasta

Penne Alla Vodka

penne all vodka

I discovered Pasta Alla Vodka on one of my first trips to Italy. Researching the dish I found that many people have claimed to invent this dish from Italy and in America. In the early 70’s it was known as Penne alla Russia at Orsini’s in New York City, where Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Mick Jagger were among the regulars.

I discovered Pasta Alla Vodka on one of my first trips to Italy. Researching the dish I found that many people have claimed to invent this dish from Italy and in America. In the early 70’s it was known as Penne alla Russia at Orsini’s in New York City, where Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Mick Jagger were among the regulars.

Do you crave different foods based on how you are feeling? When I am traveling I crave spicy Kung Pao chicken when I get home. Comfort food can be mashed potatoes with Lemony Roast Chicken or a bowl of pasta. There is happy food and sad food. Food nourishes not just our body but our soul.

Back to Penne Alla Vodka. It is a big Italian bowl of comfort. Maybe that is what drew me to it, I am in need of some comfort after a very long few weeks. A bowl of steaming pasta, topped with a fiery sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese is a great end to the day. Serve with a crisp salad and you have a quickly pulled together dinner. The meal comes together in 15 to 20 minutes which makes it a great weeknight meal.

I like it spicy so I am generous with the red pepper. You can cut back if your family likes it more mild. I also use less cream, in fact the sauce tastes pretty good without it. You could add a few tablespoons to get that hint of cream with less calories. Note I was out of penne and used fusilli.

So what about you? What meal do you turn to when you are happy or sad? Share in the comments.
Penne Alla Vodka

2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 fresh garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
One 28-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes with their liquid, pureed
1 pond dried penne pasta
1/4 cup vodka
1/2-1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt and the penne. Cook the pasta until tender but firm.
garlic in oil
In a skillet large enough to hold the pasta later on, combine the oil, garlic, crushed pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil.

Penne Vodka sauce

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Pour in the vodka, lower the heat and simmer until the pasta is ready. Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Toss, add the cream and toss again. Let the pasta absorb the sauce for a minute, before serving. Sprinkle the parsley and Parmigiano cheese and serve in bowls.

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