I loved everything about that place - we were in walking distance to the bars, could literally scream out the window to "lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor" and had some of the best homemade meals two twenty-something single girls could ever dream of. Darlynn and I both come from families who cooked frequently and let us help in the kitchen. She taught me how to cook Italian and I taught her how to cook everything else (kidding.....I know she is reading this).
Darlynn's Penne ala Vodka recipe was handed down by her father. It's super easy and always delicious. I've made tweaks on the recipe to make it my own over the years but there is one rule - if using canned tomatoes, you can only use Hunts. If you use another brand, the flavor will not be the same. I recently learned that Hunts Tomatoes go from the field to the can, where they are FlashSteam with only water in the matter of hours.
Penne ala Vodka
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans of Hunt's Tomatoes, drained well
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (I use Kraft) + more for serving
1/4 Cup Vodka
1 tablespoon Hunts Tomato paste as needed
Pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes to taste
- In a sauce pan, heat your olive oil and add the diced onions and sautee until translucent (about 5-8 minutes), be sure not to burn them.
- While your onions are cooking, drain your tomatoes - using a can opener, keep the lid and push down on the contents, removing as much liquid as possible. When your onions are translucent, add your tomatoes.
- Stir and simmer for 30 minutes
- Add heavy whipping cream, Parmesan cheese, vodka, tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently so the cheese does not burn.
- Serve over Penne Pasta, or your favorite pasta noodle. Top with fresh basil.
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