Eating Italian: Vodka penne
Italian American in Ohio
Italy can be found in downtown Columbus, Ohio on Spruce Street in the North Market. Nestled in the corner of this open air fair is Sarefino’s Pizzeria & Italian Deli. They carry a variety of Italian specialty foods and their sopressatta is truly old world flavor salami. They are well known for their New York Style pizza, a lunch specialty.
The creator of vodka penne is primarily attributed to Papa Re of Dante Ristorante in Bologna, Italy. Although there are 3 other chefs who have been given credit as the creator of this dish there in no conclusive information. Wherever the origin it is a fabulous dish to serve and it is easily prepared as its base is a skillet sauce that cooks up in less than hour.
Today’s recipe for vodka penne simply cannot be made with any other tomato product than Dei Fratelli crushed tomatoes from the Ohio based company. The taste is second to none even to canned tomatoes from grandmother’s summer garden. The Hirzell Family Farms of northwest Ohio have brought their great products to family dinner tables for 4 generations. All tomato products used in Eating Italian recipes are from Dei Fratelli.
Thank you to Kim J. Trimboli the roving photographer for this article in downtown Columbus, Ohio for the pictures of the North Market featured in the slide show.
Arctic 40% Proof Vodka was used for this recipe
Vodka can be purchased in a small 1/2 cup bottle
Serve with a side of oven browned sausage
May be topped with loose brown sausage
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 whole cloves white garlic
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
½ cup vodka
½ pt heavy cream
1 28 ounce can Dei Fratelli crushed tomatoes
4 ounces water
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp salt
1 pound of Barilla penne pasta
Parmesan-Romano blend shredded cheese
In a large skillet warm olive oil gently and add garlic cloves, simmer on low heat until garlic infuses into oil, do not brown; add the tomatoes, water and stir. Add basil, salt & pepper cook uncovered on very low heat for 20 minutes. Add in vodka stirring well and simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove garlic cloves and add the heavy cream and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Place a large pot of salted water on to boil after stirring in basil and salt & pepper. Cook penne pasta to el dente.
Cover the penne pasta with vodka cream sauce, be generous; may be sprinkled with grated cheese if desired.
Serve with a side of baked sausage or top with browned loose sausage.