Penne a la Vodka

>> Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm a little embarrassed to make this confession, but I was watching a Jersey Shore marathon and had a strong craving for some Italian food. I decided on Penne a la Vodka because I'd never tried making it before and they were having it on the show. It only seemed fitting that I use the Penne alla Vodka recipe from my The Sopranos Family Cookbook!

Penne alla Vodka
adapted by Erin from The Sopranos Family Cookbook

3 T butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 oz pancetta, chopped
1 28-oz can Italian peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped and sauce reserved
1/4 to 1/2 t crushed red pepper, depending how spicy you like it
1/2 c heavy cream or non-fat half-and-half if you're feeling healthy
1/4 c vodka
salt to taste
1 lb penne
1/2 c parmigiano-reggiano, freshly grated
parsley or basil, for garnish

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until it is softened and slightly translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the pancetta and cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly golden.

Add the tomatoes, sauce and red pepper and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Add the vodka and cook for 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a large pot. Cook penne to al dente according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1/2 c cooking water.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Add reserved cooking liquid if the sauce seems too thick. Add the cheese and basil or parsley and toss again. Serves 4-6.


Baked Potato Soup

Ah, fall is here and with it comes soup! Baked Potato Soup is so warm and comforting and I love serving it when the weather gets cooler. This recipe reheats well too. I made the soup earlier in the day and reheated it when Andrew got home from work. Easy! I used the recipe from Our Best Bites (, which is another one of my favorite food blogs. I first sauteed half of a small white onion in a tablespoon of butter and then I followed the recipe's directions.


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