Penne Vodka

July 22, 2014 - Dinnertime
Penne Vodka

Quick Italian Dinner! {no oven to heat, so a good summer dish}

 I put this recipe together over the years, first by asking a butcher at the grocery store what goes into vodka sauce and starting with his advice, then refining my recipe as I went.  I get inspiration when I eat out to try and replicate dishes.  Once at a local high end deli/caterer I had their ziti and it was filled with fresh mozzarella cubes, yummo!  That was the inspiration to add fresh mozzarella to my penne vodka.  My basic recipe has evolved into a lovely sauce and a family favorite for a meatless meal – can be put together in 30 – 40 minutes!  Bonus!

Ingredient List:

1 large onion finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large cans crushed tomatoes (I like San Marzano)

4-6 fresh plum tomatoes crushed

¼ to ½ cup Vodka

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian, flat leaf parsley (or fresh basil)

¼ – ½ cup heavy cream (enough to make the sauce a nice orangey pink color)

Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

¾ cup fresh mozzarella in small cubes

1 package of penne pasta

Warm olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onions and sweat for 3 minutes then the garlic and heat for another 1 minute (never brown the garlic or it gets bitter!)   Add the crushed tomatoes and blitzed plum tomatoes, vodka, bay leaf and stir.  Warm over medium heat, stirring often, for about 25 minutes.  Then add the cream, parsley (or basil), salt and pepper to taste and cook for 5 more minutes on medium heat.  Remove half of the sauce and reserve for another night or freeze for another week.  Pour the cooked and drained pasta (cooked 1 or 2 minutes less than the package states) into the pot of sauce that’s left.

Add the mozzarella cubes to the pot of sauce and pasta and mix well, warming it over the flame for 2 minutes.  Plate up the penne (add a bit more sauce from your reserved if it looks like it needs it).

Best served with salad and garlic bread, or a fresh fruit cup

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