Simple Penne alla Vodka

Very simple recipe adopted from Food Network

Ingredients

  • ½ stick (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smacked flat
  • 2/3 cup vodka
  • ¾ cup canned tomato puree (better if you puree canned whole tomatoes)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ pound cooked ham, especially prosciutto or other Italian ham, finely chopped
  • 2 drops hot sauce like Tabasco, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne
  • ¾ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in vodka, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 4 minutes.
  4. Add tomato puree and cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in ham, Tabasco, salt, and pepper.
  6. Keep sauce warm over very low heat.
  7. Cook pasta in 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt per every 4 quarts water) until al dente.
  8. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain pasta.
  9. Add pasta to sauce and toss with sauce and cheese, adding some of reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry.

Note:
You could add some fresh basil along with the ham, if you want.

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