Featured on The Berry on 26th Feb 2013
I’m still detoxing after the excesses of December, but this dish needed to get made! I just got assigned an additional role at work and to add to that, we have a new boss. Changes, changes, changes – how I hate them! (Especially, when I’m not the one making them!) Since I’d sworn off alcohol atleast for a month (part of the detox plan), I needed to find an alternative. (And No, I can’t make the ‘special’ brownies). So I gave myself and my frazzled nerves some loving, in the form of Penne a la Vodka. It doesn’t count as cheating because technically, the alcohol content is supposed to burn off when you deglaze the pan with it. (It’s another story that when you’re off alcohol, even a whiff of it can send you into a happy place). Anyway, this is a classic recipe and loved the world over. It’s sophisticated enough to serve at a dinner party and comforting enough to take it to the couch with you. When you have the best of both worlds you don’t really question it…..ever!
P.S. In case anyone (after reading the above para) thinks I’m an alcohol addicted crazy person who’s headed down the path to rehab in a couple of years…rest assured I’m not! Though I might need anger management sooner than later! (Watch your back…)
Penne in a Vodka Sauce
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
What you need:
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
100 gms Bacon, finely chopped (optional)
1 Med Onion, finely chopped
3-4 Garlic cloves, minced
200ml/ 1 packet Tomato Puree (I used Dabur Hommade)
2 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup (I used Maggi Hot and Sweet sauce)
1/2 tsp Chilli flakes
1 tsp Sugar
1/3 cup/ 80ml Vodka
180 ml Cream (I used Amul)
350 gms dried Penne pasta
Salt to taste
1 tsp Mixed dried Herbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
What to do:
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add Bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and cook until softened and golden brown, Add in minced garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes. Toss in Chili flakes and sauté. Stir in the vodka (deglaze the pan) and increase heat back to medium-high. Let it simmer for 2 mins. Add the tomato puree, ketchup, sugar, and salt into the onion mixture. Briskly simmer for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the alcohol flavor has cooked off. Reduce heat to low and whisk in heavy cream. Finally add in the parmesan and stir.
Meanwhile, bring a large stockpot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente or according to package directions. Reserve ¼ cup cooking water before draining.
Gently fold the cooked penne and reserved bacon into the vodka sauce and continue cooking on low heat for another minute. Toss with a bit of pasta water if sauce is too thick.
Season with additional salt and Chili flakes if desired, and serve with fresh Parmesan and chopped Basil.