This is one of my absolute favorite dishes. There is a pizza/pasta place in my hometown where I get it most often (Michelangelo’s Pizza, Pasta and Things gotta love family Italian cooking). We went home for Easter and I picked it up for Friday night…I was in heaven.
I actually got the idea to cook this years ago when visiting a high school friend at Dartmouth. He snagged a recipe from his mom and we made it for a bunch of his friends. (It’s on this trip that I discovered how awesome mozzarella balls and balsamic is). If a college boy can do it…I knew I can too 🙂
I made this for the first time a few months ago, but last night JEM made it for me as part of a celebratory dinner. He did a GREAT job, it was unbelievable and paired very nicely with garlic bread and champagne.
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion OR 2 to 3 shallots
- Scant 3/4 tsp salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper OR 1 dried red chili, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with the liquids
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 3 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
- Shaved or grated parmesan cheese, to garnish
- Additional fresh basil leaves (optional)
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onion to pan; sauté until tender.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, and garlic; sauté 1 minute.
- Add vodka (when cooking with alcohol, there is always a chance it catches on fire, so be very careful); bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid reduces by about half.
- Stir in short 1/2 teaspoon salt, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
- Remove skillet from heat and let cool slightly.
- Pour tomato mixture in a blender. (Remove center piece of blender lid–to allow steam to escape; and secure the lid on blender.) Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatter), and process until smooth.
- Return tomato mixture to pan.
- Mix in cream, then cook the sauce for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat. Stir in cooked pasta and basil.
- Enjoy immediately.