Penne Alla Vodka-A A +A
Pots and Pans
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
ONE very popular dish among the Americans is this simple yet satisfying and easy-to-make pasta dish, making use of Penne, a type of pasta that kind of look like big elongated macaroni (not the elbow type).
If one has to check on the different types of pasta, one would be surprised to see so much shape, colors and varieties available in the market and depending on the sauce used, there would be a specific and “correct” pasta for such.
That is why they are popularly known as “Italian” pasta since they kind of originated from Italy.
In Asia, we have noodles and again depending on where you are, they are called different names and are made from almost basically the same ingredients, flour, water and eggs.
We are all familiar with spaghetti, fettuccine, lasagna, and macaroni because we always use them in our cooking.
And I guess we are very comfortable with these since we practically grew up with them.
What is a celebration without Spaghetti with hotdogs or meatballs and lots of cheese?
What about Chicken macaroni salad?
And for the more upscale dish, we have the favorite meaty lasagna that is covered with lots of mozzarella cheese, of course!
Pasta dishes had been with us for a long time and we have to thank the Italians for that.
But because of our creativity and innovativeness, we have come out with a lot of Pinoy-influenced pasta dishes too like ‘sardine’ pasta (although Italians have their own version of this dish as well!), ‘adobo’ pasta, ‘lechon paksiw’ pasta, and so on.
Technically speaking, pasta is a starchy item, just like rice.
So that means we can essentially put any topping or sauce of any kind on any of the available pasta.
However, one word of caution, creamy sauces should ideally be used with thin or long pasta for the sauce to adhere to it while those bigger sized pasta, with or without holes, are used with chunky sauces that contains larger cut of meat or the like.
Pasta should be “Al Dente,” meaning it should be tender but firm to the bite.
And this is very critical in cooking a super great pasta. Aside from the sauce, naturally.
For that perfectly cooked pasta, just follow the instructions on the box or plastic wrapper since different pasta made by different companies varies in its cooking time.
Always put a little salt in the water to bring out the flavor.
But using oil is not recommended since the sauce will not cling to the pasta.
But I am sure we all have been doing these, so I guess to each his own!
Dipping them or passing the pasta in cold water is not necessary if the pasta is to be served hot or right after it is cooked.
But I would do it if I am making a cold pasta salad like our admired and well-liked chicken macaroni salad (with ‘kaong’ and fruit cocktail!), which theoretically is a dessert dish.
The good thing about Penne all Vodka is that is good eaten warm or cold.
A dish for the alcoholics? I don’t think so, since much of the alcohol has evaporated during the cooking process leaving just the rich flavor.
Below is the delicious recipe:
1 pack penne, cooked as directed
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pc medium onion, chopped finely
5 tbsps butter
5 tbsps olive oil
1 ½ cup vodka
1 can tomato sauce
1 ½ cup all-purpose cream or heavy cream
½ tsp red pepper flakes, more if desired
½ tsp salt (more if desired)
ground black pepper
Sauté garlic in hot oil with butter.
Pour the vodka and let simmer. (To be on the safe side, turn off flame while pouring the alcohol.)
Add the tomato sauce and all-purpose cream. Mix well.
Sprinkle the red bell pepper flakes.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the drain pasta into the sauce and coat well.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Serve and enjoy!
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 12, 2013.