|Penne alla Vodka|
I would categorize Mrs. Stuntman and I as infrequent drinkers. We might have a glass of wine with dinner if we're having friends over for dinner or on a special occasion such as anniversaries or birthdays but that's about it. I might drink a beer twice per year, maybe? I don't have any medical or moral objections to it. I just don't crave it very often. I do buy a lot of wine but it's the cheap stuff I use for cooking.
It is for this reason that I was curious when found an open, half-empty bottle of vodka recently when I was cleaning the kitchen. I vaguely remember using it in a dish but I couldn't tell you when or from what dish. Not wanting to waste food, I went looking for dishes that highlighted the ingredient and zeroed in on a pasta favorite.
This dish was prepared by Chef Mario Batali on The Chew.
1 pound dried penne
6 ounces bacon, cut into batons
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pinch nutmeg
Freshly grated Parmesan and chopped Italian parsley (for garnish)
1. Boil the pasta: Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and continue to boil for two minutes less than the box instructs. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain and set aside if the sauce isn't finished yet.
2. Prepare the sauce: While the pasta boils, render the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat until slightly crisp, approximately 7 to 10 minutes.
Add in the garlic and tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste turns a darker color and the garlic is fragrant.
Add the vodka to deglaze and stir to blend the flavors. Then add the heavy cream and nutmeg and simmer for a minute or two. Add in the cooked penne and toss to coat, using the reserved pasta water to adjust the sauce and season with salt, if necessary. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with grated Parm and parsley.