Barbara first made Penne Ala Vodka for her son’s engagement party using a recipe from a friend of a friend. It has undergone a few changes over the years before it became an all-time family favorite…her granddaughter Stefani could live on this alone!
- Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe below)
- 2 lbs. Penne pasta with the lines (sauce sticks to it better)
- 6 Tablespoons of salted butter
- 8-10 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more for a bigger kick)
- 6-8 shakes red pepper flakes (more if you like it hotter)
- 1/2 lb. very thin sliced Prosciutto, shred into pieces with your fingers
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- dash of black pepper
- 4 ounces vodka
- 1 qt heavy cream (light cream can also be used)
- 4 cups of already prepared basic tomato sauce
- 4 heaping handfuls of Pecorino Romano grated cheese (approximately 2 cups)
- 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, diced Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe below)
- Saute garlic and prosciutto in melted butter in deep skillet.
- Add salt, cayenne pepper & red pepper flakes.
- Add vodka to deglaze and stir well.
- Add cream, red sauce, and Pecorino Romano cheese. Add mozzarella just before it comes to a boil to avoid mozzarella from balling up.
- Simmer & stir until it comes to a boil, don’t overcook
- Pour 2 ladles of vodka sauce over cooked penne to coat.
- Use remaining sauce to top individual servings.
Basic Tomato Sauce
- 2 28-ounce cans San Marzano whole tomatoes (break up with your hands or a ricer)
- 1 lb. Italian sweet or hot sausage
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons EVOO
- 1 Tablespoon salted butter
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- fresh basil leaves (cook in sauce plus some for garnish)
- Pour 2 tablespoons EVOO in heavy duty 8-quart pot
- When the oil is hot, add sausage links and brown both sides
- Remove browned sausage links and set aside.
- Add onion and cook until lightly browned and translucent
- Add garlic and stir well for 1 minute
- Add tomatoes, butter, oregano, and a few basil leaves , and the browned sausages.
- Stir well and often to prevent burning on the bottom while simmering for at least 1 hour (the longer it cooks the better)
- When done, remove the sausage links that can be saved for a different meal or serve with your favorite pasta dish.