One of her envelopes sent from South Carolina contained a sweet letter to me and her recipe for Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce. A favorite for us both and a flavorful reminder of a trip we took to Maine where she first cooked this recipe for me.
During a recent visit from Jackie O, I dusted off the recipe and started dicing onions and garlic so I could start simmering the savory sauce, which gets a splash of vodka along the way.
Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce
8 ounce box Penne pasta, cooked and drained
1 28 ounce can Stewed Tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vodka (Skip if you want or replace with red wine if you can't handle the strong stuff!)
1/2 cup room temperature heavy cream or half and half
Grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves for garnish
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add tomatoes and simmer on medium-low for 20-30 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, stir and cook another five minutes. Stir in vodka and simmer another 15 minutes on low. Remove from heat and add cream. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Serve the vodka sauce over the penne pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese and basil.
Serve with salad, bread and a nice glass of wine...or more vodka!