I have had many vodka sauces in my day and I can honestly say that I have never met a vodka sauce I didn't like! This one was no exception. I was online just trying to find some new ideas for pasta recipes, when I happened upon this one...Penne Alla Vodka. Now, like I've said, I've HAD many vodka sauces, but what I forgot to mention was that I've never actually MADE one. GASP! I know, right...an Italian that has never made a vodka sauce!! How can that be? Well, it's simple...no one in my family ever made one (at least not that I ever knew of). See simple! I saw this recipe and new I had to try it...it had bacon in it!! YAY FOR BACON!!! Nice thing about this recipe though, if you didn't want to put bacon in it, no worries, omit and and just substitute 1 Tbls olive oil. You are still going to have a fantastic sauce! And don't worry, the vodka is not over powering or prominent, so don't think you'll get sloshed after eating this!
Penne alla Vodka
Adapted from Life's Ambrosia
6 slices of bacon, diced
1/2 sweet onion, minced or diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vodka
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 lbs penne pasta
6 basil leaves, rolled together and chopped
fresh ground black pepper
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, until crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towel lined plate and set aside. Drain all but 1 Tbls of the bacon grease. Add the onions and saute on medium low for about 8 minutes or until tender and starting to brown. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add the vodka and cook 2 minutes (it should be bubbling, if not turn the heat up a bit). Pour in the diced tomatoes, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. Season with pepper.
While sauce simmers, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set asides.
After 20 minutes of simmering, slowly whisk the cream into the sauce. Add the bacon and parmesan cheese, stirring to combine. Add basil and stir. Add pasta to the sauce and toss to coat, or plate the pasta and spoon sauce on each plate. Either way, Enjoy!