one of my very favorite pasta dishes is vodka penne.  i found this recipe in a catholic school cookbook that i have owned for many years.  it is one of the best recipes around.  your guests will be quite impressed with the taste and flavor of this pasta dish.

this recipe will make four large servings as shown in the photo.  this recipe could very well be served in a smaller portion along side a roasted vegetable.  i do think your guests will ask for more, as the sauce imparts such a delicious flavor.

to make the recipe, begin by melting 1 tablespoon margarine with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy saute pan over medium heat.  saute 1 small finely chopped onion until very soft.  then add one 28 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes and cook until the juice has evaporated, stirring frequently for about 25 minutes.

cook the penne during this time period as directed on the package. i used 2 cups of penne for this recipe, and drained before mixing into the sauce.

next, add 1 cup whipping cream, 1/4 cup vodka, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the tomato mixture, while stirring the sauce.  the tomatoes will turn a beautiful pink color. then, increase the heat, and bring to a boil and allow the sauce to thicken.  season with fresh or dried basil which has been finely chopped, salt and pepper to taste.  add 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese to finish the dish. add the penne and serve.
to increase the recipe to serve more guests, increase the penne to 3 cups for 6 or more servings.  and, increase the tomatoes to three 14.5 ounce cans. adjust the other ingredients as desired.

this pasta dish can be served with crusty bread and a side salad, or in smaller portions with steamed or roasted asparagus.


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