Penne alla Vodka

Although this dish, now listed on countless Italian restaurant menus, has a certain novelty, it takes just one bite to discover how successful[ the combination is. This version comes from Le Sirenuse, in Positano, Italy.]

Total Time:
25 min
Prep:
10 min
Cook:
15 min

Yield:
4 to 6 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup vodka
  • 3/4 cup canned tomato puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 pound cooked ham, finely chopped
  • 2 drops hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco), or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Directions
  • Melt butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in vodka, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 4 minutes. Add tomato puree and cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in ham, Tabasco, salt, and pepper. Keep sauce warm over very low heat.

  • Cook pasta in 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt per every 4 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain pasta.

  • Add pasta to sauce and toss with sauce and cheese, adding some of reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry.


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