Penne alla Vodka
The fundraiser du jour when I graduated from college in 2002 was the Gustavus Adolphus College cookbook, featuring recipes from all the chefs in food services. My parents bought one, of course, but I’m not entirely sure we’ve ever made anything else from it but this. But it is good, and it’s become something of a signature dish for me; when I was in grad school, it’s what we made anytime we had company, because it looks impressive without actually being difficult, and it also has the bonus of being pretty cheap.
1 rounded t red pepper flakes
1/2 C vodka
1 28-0z can chopped tomatoes
1 stick butter, cutup
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 box penne pasta
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain.
Heat a deep skillet. Add red pepper flakes and vodka, heat until almost evaporated. DO NOT BREATHE THE FUMES. If you’re like me, you’ll probably cough anyway. Once vodka is almost completely evaporated, add tomatoes and again heat until liquid is almost entirely evaporated. Add butter and stir with a wooden or plastic (not metal) spoon until blended. Add heavy cream and stir to combine.
Add pasta to skillet with sauce and stir to coat. Top with parmasan cheese.
You can substitute margarine for butter, and I often do, but make sure it’s not extremely cheap margarine or it separates. You can also choose to substitute other pasta shapes. It works best with short pastas like penne and cavatappi rather than linguine or fettucine.