Penne a la Vodka Recipe

I wanted to share my aunt’s recipe for Penne a la Vodka.

Penne a la Vodka

We’ve been enjoying this pasta on holidays and birthdays for decades.

Penne a la Vodka

My aunt didn’t mind making it for us when she was visiting for Dear Son’s Communion.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. of Penne Pasta (You can cook 1 lb. of Penne and  freeze half of the sauce ((BEFORE you add the heavy cream and parmesan cheese)) to use on another day.)

3 Bunches of Scallions

4 oz. of Prosciutto

1 stick of Butter or Olive Oil

Crushed Red Pepper to Taste (I would probably start with less than a teaspoon, as a little goes a long way)

1/2 to 3/4 cups of Vodka (a minimum of 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup of Brandy

3 (35oz) cans OR 4 (28oz) cans of Whole Italian Plum Tomatoes. My aunt prefers the brand Cento.

1 TBS of Dried Basil or 3 TBS of Fresh Basil

1 Pint of Heavy Cream (You may add more or less to taste) cut in half for 1lb of Penne

@ 4 cups of freshly grated parmesan cheese (two wedges) cut in half for 1lb of Penne 

Extra Grated Parmesan for the table.

Directions:

1. Remove the tomatoes from the can, and crush them with your hands or in a blender. Set aside.

Penne a la Vodka

2. Chop the Scallions.

Penne a la Vodka

3. Ribbon and Dice the Prosciutto.

Penne a la Vodka

4. Melt the butter (or oil) on low to medium heat at the bottom of a stockpot and add the Scallions and Prosciutto until soft.

Penne a la Vodka

5. Add Crushed Red Pepper (to taste.)

6. Add a minimum of 1/2 cup of Vodka to the mixture, or up to 3/4 of a cup.

Penne a la Vodka

7. Add 1/4 cup of Brandy.

Penne a la Vodka

8. Cook the mixture on medium heat until it becomes a syrupy consistency. (About 5 minutes)

Penne a la Vodka

9. At this point you should attempt to flambé the mixture to make sure all of the alcohol is cooked out. Sometimes it works and sometimes the alcohol is already evaporated. Basically, you use one of those long lighters to set the mixture on fire. If it works, let it go until the flame burns out. (You should have a lid ready to cover the mixture just in case.) I don’t want to be completely responsible for giving directions on how to flambé, so I’ve included a link. Click here.

Penne a la Vodka

Our mixture did not light this time.

Penne a la Vodka

10. Add the crushed tomatoes to the mixture.

Penne a la Vodka

11. If you are using dried basil, add it now.

Penne a la Vodka

12. Simmer the Sauce for about an 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

13. In the meantime, Grate the Cheese.

Penne a la Vodka

14. After about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, cook the penne pasta for about 10 minutes. If it is still a little hard, you can let it finish cooking in the sauce.

15. If you are only cooking one pound of pasta, remove half of the sauce now and set it aside to freeze.

16. If you are using Fresh Basil add it now.

17. Add the Heavy Cream to the Sauce.

Penne a la Vodka

18. Add the Penne Pasta to the Sauce and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Penne a la Vodka

19. Add cheese to the mixture, mix and serve.

Penne a la Vodka

20. Enjoy!

Penne a la Vodka

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