From My Kitchen: Penne Alla Vodka (Carmine’s)

Last year, right around the holidays, one of my good friends and coworkers, asked me if I could find her a certain recipe that was once printed in one of the New York newspapers. Luckily I found it quickly, because I’m used to that kind of thing. A few weeks later I tried to go back to it, because I wanted to make it, but this time it took me forever to find it. But I did, and to make sure that I won’t lose it again, I added it to my recipes on my website. And of course, you are the lucky recipients of this safeguard!

It is a recipe by one of my favorite Italian restaurants in New York City, right in the heart of Times Square, Carmine’s. And if you know anything about me, then you know, I am super, duper picky when it comes to Italian restaurants. This recipe is made with fresh mushrooms, which you can obviously omit, if you are not too fond of them. Even though I love mushrooms, I was skeptic about adding them to a vodka sauce, but trust me, it’s incredibly delicious!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 28 oz can Redpack whole tomatoes in purée
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 6 – 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1/8 dried)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 tbsp butter, divided
  • 12 oz fresh white mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 pinches crushed pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for the table
  • 1 box of Barilla penne pasta

Heat oil in a large sauce pan. When hot, sauté the onions until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Crush tomatoes tho desired texture and add them, together with the purée, to the saucepan. Stir in oregano, basil, salt and pepper and simmer for one hour to concentrate flavors.

When the sauce is cooking, heat 4 tbsp of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sautée the mushrooms and hot pepper flakes until the mushrooms are golden. Carefully add the vodka and simmer for 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol. Add the heavy cream mixture and bring to a simmer. Pour the cream mixture into into the tomato puree mixture, stir to mix. Keep sauce warm. Cook pasta according to the instructions on the box.

When the pasta is done, melt the remaining 4 tbsp butter in a large skillet. Stir in the pasta to glaze, then add Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly. Stir in 1/3 of the sauce and mix with the pasta, and top off the rest later when served on the plates. (I chose to actually mix in all of the sauce right away)

Bon Appétit!

Author: Gotham Foodie

Hello there, fellow foodies! My name is Erica, I was born and raised in Germany, and moved to the US, New York City to be exact, in July of 1987. I have worked most of my time here in the Big Apple as a bartender, but my true love is food. I cook just about every day, I search for good food everywhere, and pretty much always find it. I don't consider myself a food critic, I don't have the culinary background for that kind of expertise. I do however know good food, good chefs and good restaurants. I report back about my culinary adventures, and I choose to leave out my unsatisfactory experiences. We have enough negativity in our daily lives, I don't want to add to that. All the recipes in my FROM MY KITCHEN and DOTW blogs are cooked and prepared by me. All pictures are taken by me. I don't always eat everything you see in my pictures, but you bet your buns, I do try everything. Last but not least, you should know that I am a huge Top Chef fan. I have never missed an episode of the Bravo TV show. I have at this point visited almost 20 restaurants run by Top Chef contestants, and I'm continuously impressed by their skill, drive and passion. So I will continue to seek them out, and I hope you join me in my journey!

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