Best Penne Vodka Ever

While A was away on vacation, said vacationer’s girlfriend fixated on a very pretentious idea. She was sitting at her desk in the library, thinking of the 1940s Italian neo-realist film The Bicycle Thief and remembering the delicious-looking bowl of pasta served by the frugal yet culinarily skilled mom. This led to the (a) highly specious conclusion that the film characters were eating penne vodka, and (b) a wide-ranging search for the best penne vodka recipe ever. Vacationer’s girlfriend eventually settled on Smitten Kitchen’s adaptation of Rachel Ray’s embarrassingly named “You Won’t be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta.” After sending the closet-dweller the recipe & a short lecture on the cinematographic brilliance of TBT, girlfriend ventured out to acquire the needed libations.

The closet-dweller and vacationer’s girlfriend made many changes to the Smitten Kitchen & Rachel Ray recipes. Here’s the final version:

Penne Vodka (non-discriminatory re: relationship status)

A couple tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
About 5 stalks green garlic, minced
Good-sized handful of chives, snipped into the pan
1/2 cup vodka
1 cup veggie stock
1 can diced tomatoes (28 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
A little less than a pound of pasta, depending on the sauce:pasta ratio you prefer
1/2 cup heavy cream
A small handful fresh oregano, chopped up (or basil if you have it around)

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, green garlic, and chives. Gently saute chives and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes. Add vodka to the pan. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add veggie stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for at least 10 minutes until the tomatoes taste done (if you’ve cooked with diced tomatoes before, you probably know what I mean). Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta. Stir cream and fresh herbs (oregano or basil) into the sauce and simmer a bit more. Season more as needed. Stir together with pasta and top with cheese if you so desire.

Evening entertainment option 1: Go classy, eat penne vodka and drink wine while watching an amazing Italian neo-realist film.

Evening entertainment option 2: Go post-college, eat penne vodka and drink Yuengling while watching Community for hours on end.

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2 Comments to “Best Penne Vodka Ever”

  1. what i learned from veganomicon’s vegan version of penne vodka is that you can sneak ground almonds into such recipes and it becomes if possible, even yummier-it fills out the flavour…

  2. TBT is a top ten fave of a parent (or two) of the closet-dweller. Ahem. Sorry for the failure to communicate said passion to the offspring.

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