Pasta alla Vodka

Normally, I use Penne for this, but I do have quite an affinity for Mezzi Rigatoni, so that works too.  Any tube-shaped pasta with ridges works quite well.  It’s those ridges that hold on to the delectable, creamy, spicy tomato sauce.

  • One can crushed tomato (about 35 ounces)
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed (don’t worry, it gets removed) note: if they are very large cloves, use half the amount
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1/4 grated cheese
  • 1 box or pound of ridged, short pasta,  such as penne or mezzi rigatoni

Fill a large pot with water. Turn heat to high to bring to a boil.  When boiling, toss in a good amount of salt and begin cooking pasta.

In the meantime:

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add crushed garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Carefully add tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Season lightly with salt and generously with crushed red pepper.  Boil two minutes.  Pour in vodka and lower heat to simmer until pasta is ready.  Fish out garlic and stir in cream and add butter to incorporate.

Drain pasta and return to pot.  Pour sauce over and boil, stirring to coat. Check seasoning, add parsley and reduce until sauce clings to pasta.

Remove to serving bowl, sprinkle with cheese and serve.

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