Penne Vodka.

It’s not every day that you want to make a giant pot of creamy pasta goodness… but when throwing a big party it can be perfect!
My friend K.C. has the most amazing roofdeck right in the middle of SoHo on the escalator and she is an amazing hostess and holds big parties there all the time (including this one which was literally the day she got back from the US) so I thought it would be the perfect excuse to try out a recipe sent to me in one of those email recipe exchanges by my friend Jess.

I got this “recipe” from the cousin of the friend i travelled through Europe with in college.  We visited her and her family in Rome and then they invited us out to Gubbio (near Assisi) for the weekend.  It was an amazing country home with a full outdoor kitchen!  how cool… wine barrels, tomato sauce and cured meats in the storage area, and very limited verbal communication… only the cousin spoke english, the rest of the family – Italian only… and us, like so many americans, English only.  thank god for good hand communication, wine and good food.

Vodka Sauce alla Sabina

  • pour glass of favorite wine, start drinking
  • saute chopped proscuitto (or other cured pork product), 2 slices per serving
  • turn temp to low and saute garlic with meat to soften – not toast, 1/2 clove per serving
  • add vodka (1 shot per serving), let boil and then light to remove alcohol – be safe!
  • add can of chopped tomatoes (can be italian style, but i recommend can over fresh unless you have a great garden with super fresh tomatoes… in which case remove skin – i prefer the drop in boiling water until skin blisters and becomes loose and peel under cold water method… chop) 1/2 can per serving, or 1 tomato per person
  • add creme about 1/2c. per serving
  • add grated parmesan (or other italian hard cheese of choice) 1/2 c per serving
  • stir until melted, cook a little longer to bring flavors together
  • refill glass of favorite wine
  • serve over penne or other pasta of choice (i like penne because it holds the sauce well)
  • add grated parm, cracked pepper, and basil leaves as garnish
  • drink and eat

I love when people don’t just give you a recipe, but tell you the story behind it. That’s why I love Ruth Reichl’s novels and Nigella’s cookbooks. Cookbook as autobiography is my favorite genre. I also love Jess’s no-measuring approach to cooking. Us type-A-types certainly have something to learn from it! And, not surprisingly, Jess’s pasta was a hit! Proscuitto, vodka, and lighting things on fire makes everything better.

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2 responses to “Penne Vodka.

  1. I love that her measurements are by serving. There is nothing worse than following a recipe that says “serves 6” when you are serving 8 and then trying to do the math! Hence why we are eating lasagna for the next week….

  2. Mmm! I never tried Vodka sauce until very recently and I was so surprised by how incredibly yummy it is! I will have to try this at home!

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