Penne alla vodka is a popular Italian-American dish. The sauce is rich, creamy and delicious. I like to use pancetta to give it a little extra flavor, but you can also use prosciutto.
1 – medium onion diced
3 – cloves garlic smashed
4 – oz. pancetta finely chopped
1 – 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/4 – tsp. pepperoncini (red pepper flake)
2 – tbls. butter
1/3 – cup vodka
1/4 – cup heavy cream
1 – lb. penne pasta
4 – fresh basil leaves
2 – tbls. fresh chopped parsley
Put on a large pot of water to boil. Dice the onion and peel the garlic. Heat 2 tbls. extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. Add the diced onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
Slice the pancetta in small, very thin pieces. Push the onions and garlic to one side of the skillet and add the pancetta and cook it until it begins to brown. Add the pepperoncini and cook one minute more.
Pour the vodka into the skillet to deglaze the pan. Use a spatula to loosen all the browned bits and stir until mixed well. Lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by one-quarter Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, black pepper, basil and parsley. Continue cooking about 10 minutes.
At this point the water should be boiling. Add salt to the water and the pasta. Cook until al dente (a little firm to the bite). Continue cooking the sauce until the pasta is ready.
Just before the pasta is ready, remove the garlic from the sauce and add the cream and butter, stir to mix into the sauce.
Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce and mix. Top with parmigiana-reggiano cheese and fresh parsley.