I went to a conference in Foxboro, and for some reason, the vodka sauce was, like, the sauce de jour for every meal. I had it for lunch twice (two different days, not like two lunches in a row – but I like the sound of that) on cheese ravioli, and for dinner once on penne with shrimp (giant, giant shrimp). For only being there 2 1/4 days, that seems like a lot of vodka sauce, right? Whatever.
Here’s my recipe for penne alla vodka (direct from Williams Sonoma) (My comments in italics)
- 5 large tomatoes
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup vodka
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 lb. penne
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Leaves from 3 or 4 large fresh flat-leaf parsley
sprigs, coarsely chopped
In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until just starting to turn golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the stovetop and add the vodka. Return the pan to medium heat and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well and add the pasta to the fry pan.
Add the cream and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the pasta is well coated with the sauce, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour into a warmed large, shallow bowl. Add the parsley and toss briefly. Serve immediately.