It’s officially winter and all I want to do on a freezing cold day is wrap myself up in a big blanket and sit on the couch by the crackling fireplace in my cozy PJs while watching Stranger Things with a huge bowl of this Penne Alla Vodka in front of me. Nothing is better than a giant bowl of penne pasta tossed in a luscious tomato sauce and topped with tons of grated parmesan, a generous pinch of sea salt, and loads of freshly ground pepper! I mean, this is the ultimate comfort food, hands down.
For those of you wondering, all of the alcohol in the vodka is cooked out in the flaméing process and is used to emulsify the cream with the tomatoes to make the most delicious sauce ever! This rich sauce is really easy to make, comes together in no time, and is packed with tons of flavor from the tomatoes, vodka, red chili flakes, parmesan and the other yummy ingredients. After just one taste, you will want to top the sauce on just about everything like on pizza, on gnocchi, or even to just drink it plain…I won’t judge!
Penne Alla Vodka
- Kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 lb. penne pasta
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1 (28-oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup parmesan, grated
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh oregano, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over a high heat. Add in the penne and cook, stirring, until al dente, about 11 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the chile flakes and garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add in the vodka to the pan. To flambé, carefully light sauce with long-reach lighter and the flame will go out in about 30-45 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, blend the sauce until smooth, then pour back into the pan. Stir in the cream and cheese, season with salt and pepper, and stir until smooth.
- Drain pasta, and transfer to pan with sauce; toss pasta with sauce until evenly coated. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with grated parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper.