Vodka Sauce (Penne alla Vodka)

Never mind the long ingredient list & huge number of steps, this sauce is e-a-s-y & fast! It is quite flavorful as it is & is already muted with cream, so you can even skip the sometimes obligatory sprinkle of Parmesan.

2 cans petite diced tomatoes, 14.5 oz each
1 onion, diced
1 T tomato paste
1/2 c red wine
2 cloves garlic, pressed
pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 c vodka (or red wine, or white wine, but probably not beer)
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1 lb. pasta, cooked

  1. Heat oil in a large pan.
  2. Drain & puree one can of tomatoes.
  3. Drain the other can of tomatoes & add them to the puree.
  4. Saute the onion & tomato paste until the onion edges are starting to get brown & there is a good bit of fond in the bottom of the pan.
  5. De-glaze the pan with half of the red wine & continue to cook until the wine has evaporated & more fond has developed.
  6. De-glaze the pan again & cook until the wine is thick & nearly evaporated.
  7. Add the garlic & red pepper flakes, cooking 30 seconds until garlic is fragrant.
  8. Add the tomatoes & vodka & bring to a simmer.
  9. Simmer uncovered, stirring often, until the alcohol cooks off, 10 to 12 minutes.
  10. Add the cream & cook until hot all the way through.
  11. In a large pot, combine the sauce & pasta and cook until sauce is slightly absorbed (about 2 minutes)
  12. Served sprinkled with fresh basil.