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Penne a la Vodka

This is a classic Italian dish, but allow me to share my family's version.  Fresh cheese, basil and a hint of vodka makes this meal go down as easily as the wine you're pairing with it.  Make it tonight!


  • 1/2 box Penne pasta, cooked and drained

  • 6 Bacon strips, sliced into lardons

  • Red Pepper Flakes, to taste (optional)

  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 cup Vodka

  • 1/2 cup Cream (Heavy or Whipping cream)

  • 1/2 24 oz. jar Tomato Sauce (I use Classico)

  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan

  • Fresh Basil, chopped or chiffonade 

Cook penne according to directions. 


In a saucepan, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove all but 2 tablespoons rendered fat.  Add the red pepper flakes and garlic, and saute one minute until fragrant.


Turn off the heat and add the vodka.  Return heat to medium-high to cook for one minute. (Enough to burn off the alcohol - yes, this is safe for kids to enjoy, too!)


Add the cream and tomato sauce, and simmer (not boil!) a few minutes to marry the ingredients.


Add parmesan cheese, cooked penne pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle additional parmesan cheese and fresh basil, and enjoy with those you love!


Yields 4 servings

Active Time ~30 minutes

Total Time ~ 30 minutes

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