Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Penne Alla Vodka and I’m a Terrible Competitor



So here’s the deal. I learned today you could vote for all the cakes in a day. That means instead of $1 a day going to fight ovarian cancer, we can each make $5 per day go to this much needed cause. So instead of just asking you to vote for our team, “Fall for Me”, I’m hoping that you'll vote for all five teams.

I’ll probably be kicked out of the competitors club for this one. But this is cancer, these are my food blogging buddies, and I love all our cakes. So will you vote for all of us? Please? Only 2 ½ days left. Let's kick ovarian cancer in the butt!

Also, Buddy the Cake Boss is giving an internet live cake demo today at 4p.m Pacific Time. If you want to learn some rad new skills go RSVP. Again, money goes to the same worthy cause. I’ll be there of course.

This pasta is a staple in our house and my husband asks for it all the time. I finally grabbed a picture so I could pass it on to you. It's also great with some grilled chicken or shrimp. Play around with it and see what works for you.

Cook’s Illustrated Penne Alla Vodka
“If possible, use premium vodka; inexpensive brands will taste harsh in this sauce. Pepper vodka imparts a pleasant flavor and can be substituted for plain."

1 pound penne pasta
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and liquid reserved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced onion
1 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt
1/3 cup vodka
½ cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons minced fresh basil
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving

1. Start heating heavily salted water for pasta. Puree half of the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Chop the remaining tomatoes into ½ inch pieces, discarding the cores. Combined the pureed and diced tomatoes in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Add reserved liquid to make 2 cups.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is light golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Stir in the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt. Remove pan from heat and add the vodka. Return the pan to medium high heat and simmer, stirring frequently for 10 minutes to cook off the vodka. (Lower heat to medium if simmering is too vigorous.) Stir in the cream and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until hot.

4. Right after you add the vodka cook the pasta according to package directions. Set aside ¼ cup of salted pasta water at the end of cooking time. (I save about a cup, often needing more than called for.) Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, add the sauce and cook over medium heat for 1 ½ minutes to make the sauce stick to the pasta a bit. Then turn off heat, add the pasta water, basil, a little salt and pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese as desired and serve.

Recipe from "The Best of America's Test Kitchen, Best Recipes and Reviews 2008". Picture by Laura Flowers.



35 comments:

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

Hi Laura, I've voted for the other cakes as well as yours!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Thank-you Carmen!

Chef E said...

Oh is this confession Tuesday, so did I, I am voting crazy! Your still ahead though...

Oh no its 'Tempt Me Tuesday' you bad person for dangling pasta in front of my face!

SuzyQ said...

Just wanted to say hi! I'm a Valley resident (L/C), and was delighted find your blog -weirdly, linked through a blog located out of DC, if I'm remembering correctly...

Can't wait to try this recipe! The husband loves pasta, and I love cooking with alcohol (*grin*), so it should be a hit!

Vrinda said...

Looks lovely...nice shot

Dee said...

I will vote asap for those cakes. Great reason to support a cause! That Penne pasta with Vodka sauce is one of my faves. I am fairly obsessed with it. Looks delightful. Have a great day.

alissa said...

I'm so glad you posted this recipe. One of my favorite pastas to order @ restaurants, but I've never made it at home. Going to try is soon! Heading over to vote now. . .

Pink Little Cake said...

Laura, this looks yummy, more than fried plantains! My favorite pasta to make and eat.

The Cooking Photographer said...

Kathia no!! Nothing beats fried plantains lol!

Cristie said...

I'll go on and vote for the others as well. Love Cooks Illusttrated- what would I do without it?? Your pasta looks wonderful.

Pink Little Cake said...

You are right!

Southern Cookbook said...

Good Idea Laura! I will vote for the others as well. The pasta dish looks wonderful as always.
~Southern Cookbook
~Cheryl
www.thesoutherncookbook.com

Diana's Cocina said...

Penne pasta with Vodka sauce, delish! It is one of my faves.

Mary said...

Hi Lara, the pasta sounds wonderful. I can't wait to try it. I hope all is well and that life isn't too boring after the excitement of the contest. Take care. Blessings...Mary

The Cooking Photographer said...

Hi Everyone!

And SuzyQ you are local!! Nice!

Laura

Mimi said...

I'm on my way to vote again. This is one of my favorite pasta recipes, very nice click.
Mimi

Lo said...

Totally in on the vote -- thanks for letting me in on the news.

And, of course, that vodka sauce looks stunning. One of my favorites... sometimes with a bit of gorgonzola thrown in for good measure. *drool*

Sook said...

I've never tried cooking with vodka. Sounds interesting!

Tiffiny Felix said...

Mmmm...yum, yum! This looks beautiful :)

l'optimiste said...

woo hoo! we are winning even though I am voting for ALL the cakes [who can not vote for any cake anyway?]

Yum to the pasta - we eat it a lot, shall try yours. But will totally NOT take a photo of mine ;o)
x

lostpastremembered said...

I used to love vodka with penne... it was all over NYC but then forgot about it... and how good it was... thanks for the nudge.. great pic as always!

ABowlOfMush said...

Yum, I love penne alla vodka...never fails to please!
Yours looks really gorgeous! :)

Dawn said...

Your cake did turn out gorgeous so it is very sweet of you to have everyone vote for all cakes. And the recipe looks great too. I like a little pasta with my vodka. ;)

Federica said...

adoro la pasta!!! questo piatto è eccezionale!! complimenti!!

Ms Bibi said...

Great pasta dish.

I totally forgot about the cakes, I feel terrible. I will go right now.

Gulmohar said...

Wonderful cakes...loved your team's fall cake, Laura !
This pasta wish a dash of vodka sounds very interesting !

lisa @ dandysugar said...

Such a wonderful cause and yo are so sweet to ask that everyone vote for all the cakes! Yes.

Great delicious yummy pasta recipe too, by the way!

Memória said...

I could never call you a bad competitor b/c you are so sweet to tell others to vote for everyone. What a fair, altruistic thing to say.

That pasta dish looks so hearty, delicious, and healthy. YUM!! I wish I could try this out, but one of the main ingredients is Vodka. Is there a non-alcoholic substitute?

The Cooking Photographer said...

Memoria just use water. It won't be quite the same, but will be fine.

And Lo I'm going to throw in some gorgonzola next time! Thank-you for the idea!

Laura

Blackberry Jam Cafe said...

You are way too sweet to be in a competition! I need to try to be more like you! Off to vote again....
Susan

Sarah said...

Congratulations on a beautiful cake! I will vote for all five of you for such a worthy cause.
Penne with vodka sauce is definately a favorite at our house :)

shaz said...

Laura, you're a brilliant competitor - will head off to vote for the rest of the cakes too. Thanks for the pasta recipe :)

bridget {bake at 350} said...

I did not know we could vote for all of them!!! Heading back to add in votes on the LAST DAY! :)

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Oh darnit. I'm sorry I missed the voting. Your cake and this pasta both look amazing, though. Love the vibrant colors here. I use a similar recipe except with half the amount of cream.

ButterYum said...

Bummer - I missed out on the vote. So sorry - would have definitely done so. Bad time to take a 2 week blog vacation.

:(
ButterYum
PS - Bravo on the yummy pasta!

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