A Lenten Friday Meal

We go right from St. Paddy's Day to a nice Italian meal!  That's right, it's all about balance in this house.  This post is a little unfair because I have 7 official viewers of this blog (thank you wonderful friends and husband!) and out of that 7, 4 of you know this recipe.  Yes, it's the Penne Alla Vodka recipe from Janine & Debbie's Gourmet Cooking Club dinner back when I attempted to have a life AND a husband that travels for work.  (I've given up on weeknight activities such as Gourmet Cooking Club and Book Club, and love the occasional spontaneous evening out as our family schedule allows.  As much as I enjoyed being in those clubs, it's so much less stressful to enjoy a night out with friends when the stars align, instead of having a commitment that almost always met with a conflict!)

The ladies who introduced this recipe to me are my wonderful friends Debbie, who is my realtor, and Janine, who is a personal trainer who has a great blog about healthy living.  Check out Janine's blog here

I am lucky to married to a man who loves to cook, and who frequently makes homemade sauce ("gravy" for you Italians) from his family's secret Sicilian recipe (and it's the best!).  However, between work and the kids' activities, sometimes we run out of time for a decent meal.  This delicious and satisfying recipe is from Lidia's Italy, and is super quick and calls for no meat - perfect for a Friday during Lent!  Enjoy!

Penne Alla Vodka Alla Lidia's Italy

35 oz. can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) with their liquid
1 lb. penne
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
crushed hot red pepper
1/4 c vodka
1/2 c heavy cream (I use half-and-half)
2 T extra virgin olive oil, for finishing the sauce
2-3 T chopped fresh Italian parsley
3/4 c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring 6 qts. of salted water to a boil.

Pour tomatoes & their liquid into the workbowl of food processor.  Process tomatoes until finely chopped.

Cook penne in boiling water until al dente, 8-10 minutes.  Do not drain.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife. 

the whacked garlic
(how much do I love a husband that brings me a glass of wine while I am whacking cloves of garlic??)

Add whacked garlic to the hot oil.  Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned. 

Lower the work bowl with the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully slide the pureed tomatoes into the skillet (careful!  they will splatter!)  Bring to boil and season lightly with salt and generously with crushed red pepper (start with 1/2 t. and adjust later!)  Boil 2 minutes.  Add the vodka, lower heat and simmer until pasta is ready.

When pasta is done, remove garlic from sauce; add cream.  Add 2 T oil; swirl in skillet to incorporate into sauce.

Using wire skimmer, fish pasta out of boiling water and add to sauce.  Bring sauce & pasta to a boil.  Season as needed.  Sprinkle parsley over pasta and simmer for a few minutes.  Remove from heat; add cheese and toss to mix.  Serve immediately with a big salad and crusty bread (which, by the way, I gave up for Lent.  Oy.)

Let's pretend that baby spinach is fresh parsley (didn't have any tonight!) and just dig in!  MMMMM!

1 comment:

Janine Wilkins CPT, AFAA said...

Love this recipe!! The key to making it great is using best quality ingredients (since there are few of them). Try to find the San Marzano tomatoes and purchase the best parmesean cheese you can find. Enjoy!!