Recently, our Full Time Culinary students studied the cuisine of Northern Italy and we knew that they had to make this classic pasta dish to truly experience the culture of this region. This recipe is just the thing to make when you are craving a meal to warm your soul. The vodka sauce is pretty irresistible! Adding shaved parmesan cheese is optional, but we recommend it!
Penne Alla Bettola
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
Sea salt to taste
One 28 ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes in juice or one 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree
1 pound dried penne
2 tablespoons vodka
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1⁄4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
In a skillet large enough to hold the pasta later on, combine the oil, garlic, peppers and a pinch of salt, stirring to coat with the oil. Cook over medium heat until the garlic turns golden but before it starts to brown, 2 minutes or so.
If using whole canned tomatoes, place a food mill over the skillet and puree the tomatoes directly into it. Crushed tomatoes can be added directly from the can. Stir to blend, and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne according to package directions. Drain.
Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Toss. Add the vodka, toss again, and add the cream and toss again.
Cover, reduce the heat to low, and let rest 1 or 2 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce. Add parsley, toss again and serve.