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Penne with Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce

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Serves two to three.

  • by Mark Scarbrough, Bruce Weinstein from Fine Cooking
    Issue 50

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried red chile flakes
  • 1/3 cup homemade or low-salt canned chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. dried penne, cooked and drained
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

In a large heavy-based sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme, oregano and chile flakes.

Add the broth and vodka to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced by about half. Lower the heat slightly, add the cream and simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the cooked penne to the pan, and toss to coat. Add the Parmigiano and toss over low heat just until the flavors meld and the pasta is heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Sprinkle with chopped parsely, if using, and serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on three servings; Calories (kcal): 590; Fat (g): 27; Fat Calories (kcal): 250; Saturated Fat (g): 12; Protein (g): 14; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): 62; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 240; Cholesterol (mg): 60; Fiber (g): 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I was very pleased with this sauce and my husband loved it!

I really enjoyed this sauce! Will definitely make this again.

Have been making this for years and it's always wonderful.

This is an incredible recipe. We like things spicy so I double the red chili flakes. I also add 1/4 lb. of cooked pancetta - I have the deli cut 1/4 in. thick slices and then I dice it.

Excellent pasta! Full of taste, creamy, and satisfying. We use San Marzano tomatoes for their richness, double or more the chicken stock, a little more chile flakes, add lots of chopped parsley just before serving and reserve the Parmigiano in a dish on the table for each person to add to his or her own liking. Make sure to taste the sauce as you are preparing it! This has become our favorite pasta, highly recommended.

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