Posted May 13, 2013
I had heard about Penne Alla Vodka long before I decided to give it a shot. Perhaps it was my not so fond memories involving vodka that we won’t really go into detail about here, that prevented me from trying it. But my 21st birthday aside, I gave it a shot recently and fell in love with it. The vodka is not over-powering but compliments the tomatoes, cream and bacon, yes bacon, very nicely.
We’ve all heard it before: everything is better with bacon. Well, maybe not everything, but most things. Take this pasta for instance, I decided to add bacon to this recipe because I love the smoky flavor and the little bit of crunch that it adds to the sauce. With that said, I know that not everyone thinks that everything is better with bacon. If you are vegetarian or (gasp!) don’t like bacon, simply omit the bacon and substitute 1 tablespoon of olive oil for the bacon drippings.
Penne Alla Vodka Recipe
Penne pasta with tomatoes, cream, basil, vodka and bacon, it doesn’t get much better.
Serves 4 - 6
- 5 slices bacon, diced into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 pound dried penne pasta
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 basil leaves, rolled together and chopped
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt
- In a large pan cook bacon over medium heat until browned, about 5 – 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate and set aside.
- Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings. Add onions, garlic and crushed red pepper to reserved bacon drippings and cook until onions are translucent about 5 minutes. Pour in vodka. Cook 3 minutes. Pour in tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.
- After sauce has simmered for 20 minutes, whisk 1 tablespoon of sauce into cream to temper it. Slowly stir tempered cream into the tomato sauce. Add cooked pasta to the sauce. Stir to combine.
- Return bacon to the pasta and stir in basil and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red peppers.